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How I did in 2012 - what a pleasant surprise!

February 4th, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Cash & Savings: $87,256 => $71,804 (-18.53%)
Foreign Currency: $33,995 => $35,948 (5.74%)
Domestic Brokerage: $163,531 => $167,737 (2.57%)
International Brokerage: $85,873 => $208,875 (143.24%)
401(k): $71,751 => $94,394 (31.56%)
IRA: $87,489 => $34,633 (-60.41%)
Roth IRA: $21,802 => $80,986 (271.46%)
Total Assets: $551,697 => $693,657 (25.73%)

My total assets increased more than a quarter last year and certainly more than my take home income so bulk of the gain came from my investment. The biggest gain is a $123,002 in my international brokerage account, which reflects solid returns from several investment vehicles, including currency trading.

The other big gain came from my 401k account of $22,643. Since one can only contribute $15,000 per year $7,000 came from the strong US market.

Between my rollover IRA and Roth IRA the gain is about $7,000 so that's not a lot. To be more specific the return on my roller IRA account is quite good but because I lose so much money on Roth IRA and I had to take a lot of money earlier this year due to my previous account's mistake it diluted my overall return.

When you report your return on a monthly basis you tend to lose focus on the bigger picture so this exercise really helps me to understand I did quite well last year, whether I can repeat the same performance this year I don't know. In the best case scenario I can only make slightly more than what I make last year due to a change in compensation formula so any major gain has to come from my investment. We shall see...

December 2012 - The procrastinator finally moves

January 12th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Cash & Savings: $81,046 => $71,804 (-12.29%)
Foreign Currency: $34,884 => $35,948 (3.05%)
Domestic Brokerage: $176,400 => $167,737 (-4.91%)
International Brokerage: $176,044 => $208,875 (18.65%)
401(k): $91,400 => $94,394 (3.28%)
IRA: $97,752 => $34,633 (-64.57%)
Roth IRA: $13,047 => $80,986 (520.73%)
Total Assets: $670,573 => $693,657 (3.44%)

I made quite a few moves in December that led to the wild swing among certain categories. The biggest move I made is moving about $65,000 from my rollover IRA to my Roth IRA. This will add $23,000 to taxes comes this April but still within the 34% tax bracket Iím in. As another reader Snafu pointed out last month, if I sell everything in my rollover IRA and taxable accounts then it will take me into the next tax bracket, which is not something I can afford (and a dumb move). I also spoke to someone at Fidelity, my main brokerage firm, and he advised me to move about $10,000 from rollover IRA to Roth IRA annually so minimize the tax impact.

I also sold some shares from my biggest holdings but it will take a few years for me to unwind all my positions so I donít jump into a higher tax bracket.
The other big financial decision I made is buying a new car Ė itís a used car, but new compare to the other car I owned since 1998. Iím calling it my midlife crisis car because itís a convertible. Knowing I will own it for more than 3 years I decided to pay it off in cash instead of leasing it and paying interest. My cash position will drop significantly in the first quarter of 2013.

Overall, Iím glad I made those decisions because they are probably something I should have done 2-3 years ago but later better than never. The next immediate task is bringing my emergency fund to a higher level of $25,000. That would be enough to cover a year of expenses living comfortably.

November 2012 - more of the same

December 8th, 2012 at 05:28 pm

Cash & Savings: $76,817 => $81,046 (5.51%)
Foreign Currency: $34,773 => $34,884 (0.32%)
Domestic Brokerage: $176,878 => $176,400 (-0.27%)
International Brokerage: $174,629 => $176,044 (0.81%)
401(k): $90,297 => $91,400 (1.22%)
IRA: $97,381 => $97,752 (0.38%)
Roth IRA: $12,707 => $13,047 (2.68%)
Total Assets: $663,482 => $670,573 (1.07%)

November is simply a repeat of October where I'm throwing money to water. Last month I commented on with the election over the market should be at ease somehow but obviously I underestimated how the ability of this country's politicians to play brinksmanship. Not sure if they learned that from North Korea if they did they Kim Jung-Il should be proud of himself.

Coming into December I'm considering a new approach proposed by a CFA - move almost all my domestic assets under one roof. The idea is that I have one point of contact who advises me on the grand strategy and work with a back office to pull all the numbers together to see how I should adjust my weighting in various sectors such as large cap, mid cap, bonds, and so on. The total management fee would be 1.25% annually so it's 0.25% higher than I'd prefer but let's say it frees me up from checking on my portfolio all the time. The real challenge here is that I have to liquidate most of my current domestic holdings so I can move cash into this other account and buy their funds. They have their own funds so it's different from some advisors who tell you to choose from bigger fund family, think of Kiplinger 25.
Regardless, this is not a simple decision to make and it will keep me busy this holiday seasonÖ.

October 2012

November 4th, 2012 at 05:18 pm

Cash & Savings: $75,978 => $76,817 (1.1%)
Foreign Currency: $34,608 => $34,773 (0.48%)
Domestic Brokerage: $177,694 => $176,878 (-0.46%)
International Brokerage: $173,485 => $174,629 (0.66%)
401(k): $88,129 => $90,297 (2.46%)
IRA: $99,506 => $97,381 (-2.14%)
Roth IRA: $12,930 => $12,707 (-1.72%)
Total Assets: $662,330 => $663,482 (0.17%)

Other than that October proves to be another difficult month because despite my monthly contribution into these brokerage accounts their balance still don't increase meaning I'm losing money on my investment.

With the US election coming to an end by this week the stock market hopefully can put that jittery away. It's time for me to adjust my 401k selections by putting more money into stock funds, at least S&P 500 index fund instead of money market fund that doesn't yield anything. I redirected my contribution into money market back in 2009 due to the market condition and back then I had completely lost faith in the US financial market to govern itself. In fact, I still don't have faith in that but at least now there is Dodd-Frank to pressure financail institutions to behave better.

September 2012

October 2nd, 2012 at 01:42 pm

Cash & Savings: $69,261 => $75,978 (9.7%)
Foreign Currency: $34,553 => $34,608 (0.16%)
Domestic Brokerage: $172,269 => $177,694 (3.15%)
International Brokerage: $163,347 => $173,485 (6.21%)
401(k): $86,629 => $88,129 (1.73%)
IRA: $99,958 => $99,506 (-0.05%)
Roth IRA: $12,836 => $12,930 (0.73%)
Total Assets: $638,453 => $662,330 (3.74%)

Again the jump in cash position has something to do with my overseas business trips expense reimbursement but at the same time also a big bonus was issued last month (puny in Wall Street standard but big to me).

What I said a month ago still holds true when reading it today "I've been working overseas in the last three weeks and didn't have time to follow the market but it probably doesn't matter because everything is just as usual - Europe continue its mess, China slowing but not stopping, US keeps muddling through, you name it."

Overall Q3 has been good and with the US presidential over by November the market should be doing better assuming the worthless US congress can avoid a fiscal cliff by reaching some kind of compromise between the two parties.

August 2012

September 10th, 2012 at 08:32 pm

Cash & Savings: $63,173 => $69,261 (8.71%)
Foreign Currency: $34,608 => $34,553 (-0.16%)
Domestic Brokerage: $167,953 => $172,269 (2.57%)
International Brokerage: $166,630 => $163,347 (-1.97%)
401(k): $85,010 => $86,629 (1.90%)
IRA: $95,533 => $99,958 (4.21%)
Roth IRA: $13,507 => $12,836 (-4.97%)
Total Assets: $626,954 => $638,453 (1.83%)

The jump in cash position is most likely due to expense reimbursement coming in prior to me paying the credit card bills. I've been working overseas in the last three weeks and didn't have time to follow the market but it probably doesn't matter because everything is just as usual - Europe continue its mess, China slowing but not stopping, US keeps muddling through, you name it.

July 2012 - The World Moves On Without WSJ

August 7th, 2012 at 05:26 pm

Cash & Savings: $53,997 => $63,173 (17.99%)
Foreign Currency: $34,773 => $34,607 (-0.47%)
Domestic Brokerage: $160,598 => $167,953 (4.58%)
International Brokerage: $160,886 => $166,630 (3.58%)
401(k): $82,573 => $85,010 (2.95%)
IRA: $94,351 => $95,533 (1.25%)
Roth IRA: $20,844 => $13,507(-35.2%)
Total Assets: $608,002 => $626,954 (3.12%)

Last month my account called me and said I've been contributing too much in my Roth IRA account since 2010. Luckily she found it so at least I don't have to pay any penalty for 2011 but need to pay the 6% for 2010. I'm not too happy about this because that means my previous account didn't do his job properly and he charges a lot more than the one I'm using now. That's why my cash position suddenly goes up and my Roth IRA suddenly drops by so much. The other goods news among this bad news is that I didn't invest any of those money due to the bad economy otherwise I'll have a hard time pulling my excess contribution out.

The other thing that happened last month is that my WSJ subscription was over but guess what? The world still goes on despite all the gloomy news from Europe and slowing down of the Chinese economy that WSJ broadcast to me everyday! Granted, Europe is still in a mess as everyone said it will be last year but at least it's still crawling.

I have too many reading material so I've been reading some news magazines from last December and it's funny to compare their predictions to what actually happened 6 to 12 months later. If I have to choose, I'll pick watching the Olympics over reading WSJ any day.

The return this month has been positive on all fronts but if I look at where everything was back at the beginning of May the current posisitons are still lower. Overall not a bad finish but nothing to cheer about.

By the time I'm writing thie entry I just passed the big 4-0 milestone. Maybe I mentioned this before, but when I first started working in late 90s the economy was going really strong and I was thinking maybe by the time I turn 40 I can accumulate one million worth of asset. Well, obviously I didn't achieve that goal and a few years ago when the economy started tanking I already knew it's not going to happen. It wasn't a realistic goal anyways but it's interesting to reflect how innoncent I was, or the whole world was, back in late 90s, or even in mid 2000s, thinking the party can keep going strong - WRONG!!

June 2012

July 4th, 2012 at 01:21 pm

Cash & Savings: $51,148 => $53,997 (5.57%)
Foreign Currency: $34,497 => $34,773 (0.80%)
Domestic Brokerage: $152,448 => $160,598 (5.35%)
International Brokerage: $156,982 => $160,886 (2.47%)
401(k): $80,105 => $82,573 (3.08%)
IRA: $88,584 => $94,351 (6.51%)
Roth IRA: $20,498 => $20,844(1.69%)
Total Assets: $584,262 => $608,002 (4.06%)

The return this month has been positive on all fronts but if I look at where everything was back at the beginning of May the current posisitons are still lower. Overall not a bad finish but nothing to cheer about.

By the time I'm writing thie entry I just passed the big 4-0 milestone. Maybe I mentioned this before, but when I first started working in late 90s the economy was going really strong and I was thinking maybe by the time I turn 40 I can accumulate one million worth of asset. Well, obviously I didn't achieve that goal and a few years ago when the economy started tanking I already knew it's not going to happen. It wasn't a realistic goal anyways but it's interesting to reflect how innoncent I was, or the whole world was, back in late 90s, or even in mid 2000s, thinking the party can keep going strong - WRONG!!

May 2012 - Sell in May and Go Away

June 4th, 2012 at 06:26 pm

Cash & Savings: $48,193 => $51,148 (6.13%)
Foreign Currency: $34,176 => $34,497 (0.94%)
Domestic Brokerage: $163,610 => $152,448 (-6.82%)
International Brokerage: $164,865 => $156,982 (-4.78%)
401(k): $80,693 => $80,105 (-0.73%)
IRA: $99,859 => $88,584 (-11.29%)
Roth IRA: $21,642 => $20,498 (-5.29%)
Total Assets: $613,038 => $584,262 (-4.69%)

Summary of this month can be just a copy of what I wrote last month and the dismal performance of global equity market in May once again proves the tried and true mantra 'Sell in May and Go Away'.

Interestingly there's an article on WSJ today that shows a chart of the stock market since 2009 and they look almost identical where it slow builds up the momentum in spring only to collapse in May.

April 2012

May 20th, 2012 at 08:25 pm

Cash & Savings: $53,536 => $48,193 (-9.98%)
Foreign Currency: $34,606 => $34,176 (-1.24%)
Domestic Brokerage: $158,268 => $163,610 (3.38%)
International Brokerage: $165,440 => $164,865 (-0.35%)
401(k): $79,059 => $80,693 (2.07%)
IRA: $100,152 => $99,859 (-0.29%)
Roth IRA: $22,770 => $21,642 (-4.95%)
Total Assets: $613,831 => $613,038 (-0.13%)

By the time I wrote this entry things have gotten from bed to worse but those words look so familar. I probably wrote the same thing some time last year.

March 2012

April 6th, 2012 at 02:58 pm

Cash & Savings: $49,813 => $53,536 (7.47%)
Foreign Currency: $34,529 => $34,606 (0.22%)
Domestic Brokerage: $156,179 => $158,268 (1.34%)
International Brokerage: $163,863 => $165,440 (0.96%)
401(k): $78,140 => $79,059 (1.18%)
IRA: $97,931 => $100,152 (2.27%)
Roth IRA: $22,637 => $22,770 (0.59%)
Total Assets: $603,092 => $613,831 (1.78%)

About two months ago I started to set up limit orders to sell my underperforming stocks. My aim is to get rid of them even with some losses because there really is no reason keeping them on my various protfolios. So far I haven't managed to sold any.

When I'm writing this entry the news said last month's US job report is disappointing therefore people should expect the stock market to turn south next week. I also have been working in the US for the most part of February and March and because of the austerity measure the country may be going into double dip recession but it's yet to be proven. I think people still have money because everywhere I go, whether it's airport, train station, hotel, restaurants, tourist attractions, pubs, it's always packed.

February 2012 - Broke the $600K mark.

March 8th, 2012 at 07:15 pm

Cash & Savings: $69,521 => $49,813 (-28.53%)
Foreign Currency: $33,549 => $34,529 (2.92%)
Domestic Brokerage: $142,198 => $156,179 (9.83%)
International Brokerage: $125,740 => $163,863 (30.32%)
401(k): $73,841 => $78,140 (5.82%)
IRA: $87,038 => $97,931 (12.52%)
Roth IRA: $21,837 => $22,637 (3.66%)
Total Assets: $553,724 => $603,092 (8.92%)

My new investment has been working quite well so far but as the tide rises so does all the boats so it remains to be seen whether this trend can continue.

End of January I was too busy to prepare for an overseas project that made me working abroad for more than 3 weeks. As I result I decided to skip back tracking January's performance and only enter the February one. Sometimes with a longer time frame (two months isn't really that long) you can see the impact better as the relatively high percentage of returns have demonstrated above. However, take the 12.52% on my IRA account for example, it really isn't that great considering that's where it was back in July 2006, meaning my account hasn't grown in 6 years! By end of 2007 it rised to an all time high of $92,000 but it went downhill since then until it reached the low point of $53,000 in March 2009. What a ride.

When I write this review in March it's clear that the Greek debt crisis has passed another critical milestone. It's not pretty but at least they survived. In the time of war survival is the most important thing. As long as you're alive there is hope. As long as there's hope there is the chance of succeeding, regardless of how dim the light is.

This month also marks the first time my protfolio broke the $600k mark. In fact, if I had included the personal loans I made to my friends I probably would have broke the mark last month but that's really not important at this point. I'm curious when will I break the next milestone of $700k but it's unlikely I can do that before I turn 40, which is only a few months away.

I recall that when I first started working last century there was the dot com boom and I was dreaming of making over 1 million before 40 and now the time has come and I'm not even close to reaching that goal. It's a meaningless goal though but it's a good personal reflection - that you don't really know what you want when you're young and you are often overly optimistic.

December 2011

January 1st, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Cash & Savings: $87,256 => $69,521 (-20.33%)
Foreign Currency: $33,995 => $33,549 (-1.31%)
Domestic Brokerage: $163,531 => $142,198 (-13.05%)
International Brokerage: $85,873 => $125,740 (46.43%)
401(k): $71,751 => $73,841 (2.91%)
IRA: $87,489 => $87,038 (-0.52%)
Roth IRA: $21,802 => $21,837 (0.16%)
Total Assets: $551,697 => $553,724 (0.37%)

This month I found a new investment opportunity, a first since beginning of this year. Hopefully it can do some tricks in 2012 because what I have right now isn't really working.

October and November 2011

December 3rd, 2011 at 07:01 am

October
Cash & Savings: $79,276 => $82,307 (3.82%)
Foreign Currency: $33,547 => $33,547 (0%)
US Brokerage: $144,855 => $155,566 (7.39%)
Overseas Brokerage: $85,168 => $90,477 (6.23%)
401(k): $68,912 => $71,345 (3.53%)
IRA: $81,872 => $87,046 (6.32%)
Roth IRA: $22,115 => $23,011 (4.05%)
Total Assets: $515,745 => $543,299 (5.34%)

November
Cash & Savings: $82,307 => $87,256 (6.01%)
Foreign Currency: $33,547 => $33,549 (0.01%)
US Brokerage: $155,566 => $163,531 (5.12%)
Overseas Brokerage: $90,477 => $85,873 (-5.09%)
401(k): $71,345 => $71,751 (0.57%)
IRA: $87,046 => $87,489 (0.51%)
Roth IRA: $23,011 => $21,802 (-5.25%)
Total Assets: $551,251 => $551,251 (1.46%)

Contrary to the continuous pessimism and dreadfull feeling I have October actually went quite well with all categories going up between 3 to 7 percent. However, November is a mixed bag and if not because of the bonus I received in mid month I probably will have less money than a month ago.

I'm going to invest a lot of my cash into a new scheme on currency trading and hopefully that can make me diversify from just stocks. Also I'm considering moving all my Australian dollars into buying an Australian Dollar denominated bond fund.

Looking at my January entery 2011 doesn't look very bright - my cash position including foreign currency increased a bit and US brokerage account also increased by $35,000, 401k didn't change much, IRA and Roth both lost a lot of money. As of November, my total asset increased less than $44,000 when a personal loan of $15,000 is included. This just proves that I need to be more conservative and more selective going forward.

September 2011

October 9th, 2011 at 03:55 pm

Cash & Savings: $71,656 => $79,276 (10.63%)
Foreign Currency: $33,495 => $33,547 (0.16%)
US Brokerage: $146,243 => $144,855 (-0.95%)
Overseas Brokerage: $94,257 => $85,168 (-9.64%)
401(k): $69,166 => $68,912 (-0.37%)
IRA: $85,583 => $81,872 (-4.34%)
Roth IRA: $23,562 => $22,115 (-6.14%)
Total Assets: $523,962 => $515,745 (-1.57%)

Thanks to a nice bonus I got by the last day of September my cash position has increased a lot and although that has offset some of my losses equity alone I still lost close to $16,000 this month - and that doesn't include the 401k contribution I made, if includedd my losses is clsoer to $20,000 this month and $27,000 last month - not a pretty picture.

August 2011 - Forget about Fall, Winter is already here

September 9th, 2011 at 07:52 pm

Cash & Savings: $86,444 => $71,656 (-15.34%)
Foreign Currency: $33,129 => $33,495 (1.10%)
US Brokerage: $151,032 => $146,243 (-3.17%)
Overseas Brokerage: $102,853 => $94,257 (-8.36%)
401(k): $69,383 => $69,166 (-0.31%)
IRA: $95,007 => $85,583 (-9.92%)
Roth IRA: $24,597 => $23,562 (-4.21%)
Total Assets: $560,645 => $523,962 (-6.54%)

In August I wired $15,000 to my parents to help them finance their second home hence the big drop on my cash position. Other than that, as expected, the world's equity market continue its decline amid yet even gloomier economical news.

Among all my investments my 401k has the least loss due to a change of strategy in late 2008 or early 2009 when I started to contribute into bond funds only. Although the return is negative when you factor in inflation at least it holds its value, unlike the rest of my stock protfolios.

Hearing the President's speech on his job plan and how the Republicans responded to it simply laid further proof that more political stalemate is coming and the average Americans will continue to suffer.

July 2011 - Winter is Coming

August 2nd, 2011 at 08:49 pm

Cash & Savings: $84,644 (5.97%)
Foreign Currency: $33,129 (0.62%)
US Brokerage: $151,032 (1.66%)
Overseas Brokerage: $102,853 (1.26%)
401(k): $69,383 (2.09%)
IRA: $95,007 (-3.08%)
Roth IRA: $24,597 (-5.73%)
Total Assets: $560,645 (1.01%)

I'm a fan of George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series and I use the motto of the Stark's family as the title of this month's entry becuase there are no better words to describe what is about to come. Watching how the whole debate ceiling fiasco unfolds, unfortunately, proves my macro economics/political view is correct, i.e. the ever heated bipartisanship in this country is bring everyone down, well, at least for the 98% of the population whom in some way rely on the government for basic services.

This month I moved a matured CD into CapitalOne because it offers the best rate of 1.10% (sadly) and a bonus of 10% of the interest if the balance is over $10,000. That's really not a lot of money but given the sad state of the debt ceiling debate it's better to keep more cash on hand than investing in any stocks. Today's (8/2) big drop of the stock market verified my fear that nothing is safe other than cash and precious metal.

The private loan that I made won't be returned until 2-3 months later due to my friend's financial strain at his company. His partners are all gone but it appears that things are improving and I hope he can turn it around soon, not for the money I lend him, but as a friend wishing the best of him.

June 2011

July 4th, 2011 at 01:13 pm

Cash & Savings: $79,878 (4.84%)
Foreign Currency: $32,924 (0.31%)
US Brokerage: $148,560 (0.15%)
Overseas Brokerage: $101,576 (-1.29%)
401(k): $67,964 (1.39%)
IRA: $98,029 (2.55%)
Roth IRA: $26,091 (-1.26%)
Total Assets: $555,022 (1.04%)

My stock protfolio pretty much stays at the same level as last month but that means all the monthly investment I put in had led to further losses, a very frustrating process. I have a CD of $5,000 maturing this week and another personal loan of $15,000 that will be re-paid in late July. Where to park all these cash is a big question given my poor return on stocks.

May 2011

June 15th, 2011 at 11:47 am

Cash & Savings: $76,194 (28.99%)
Foreign Currency: $32,823 (0.16%)
US Brokerage: $148,331 (-2.02%)
Overseas Brokerage: $102,906 (-1.52%)
401(k): $67,030 (0.92%)
IRA: $95,591 (-4.09%)
Roth IRA: $26,423 (-2.02%)
Total Assets: $549,298 (1.57%)

Due to my busy work schedule and laziness I wasn't able to appeal my home value in time but there is a new push within the community to incoprporate into a new city thereby lower some other costs but that won't happen immediately. I'm not sure where all the cash comes from except a $5,000 interest free loan I gave to a friend years ago.

Portfolio wise I lost several thousands dollars due to the harsh market. 'Sail in May, Go Away' what wisdom it holds.

I also need to find out what contributed to my 4% drop in my IRA account.


April 2011

May 3rd, 2011 at 07:30 am

Cash & Savings: $59,071 (-24.55%)
Foreign Currency: $32,772 (0.93%)
US Brokerage: $151,387 (4.75%)
Overseas Brokerage: $104,495 (3.38%)
401(k): $66,418 (3.13%)
IRA: $99,672 (3.77%)
Roth IRA: $26,969 (-3.77%)
Total Assets: $540,784 (-0.74%)

In April I invested $15,000 into my friend's business that led to the 1/4 drop of my cash position. Other than that the rest of my portfolio performed quite well except my Roth IRA account that includes some tanker stocks that I am stupid enough to hold on to them. If I had sold them when the economy began to slow I would have limited the loss if not making a small profit. The lesson I learned is that certain cyclical stocks are just not suitable for buy-and-hold strategy. Other blue chip stocks may be able to ride through the storm but they are more of the exceptions.

One thing I completely missed is silver. I had actually reserved money back in December to purchase at least $10,000 worth of silver. However, after I returned from my long vacation in January silver had already enjoyed a small run up from 27 to 30, a 10% uptick that I thought was due for correction - and it did. Unfortunately I was caught in some office politics that completely distracted me and the next thing I, and the rest of the world, know is the crazy run up of silver to $48 before the 12% correction yesterday. But even if silver stands at $40 it would still have been a 33% return in 4 months time. Another lesson learned.

Lastly, as I was writing my monthly entry this morning I realized that I had erronously double counted another acount as as US Brokerage account, hence inflating my total assets. I had to go back to December 2011 to correct all my entries.

March 2011

April 4th, 2011 at 09:18 pm

Cash & Savings: $78,293 (3.65%)
Foreign Currency: $32,471 (1.24%)
US Brokerage: $144,516 (1.54%)
Overseas Brokerage: $101,082 (6.53%)
401(k): $64,403 (2.12%)
IRA: $96,048 (1.22%)
Roth IRA: $28,026 (-0.67%)
Total Assets: $544,839 (1.81%)

The global equity market turned out finishing the first quarter strong despite the disaster in Japan and the turmoil in the Middle East. However, whether that trend can continue is very debatable.

Unfortunately, despite the strong ending a new actively managed account still remained flat in March. Also I still didn't manage to review my portfolio.

Feb 2011 - still didn't evaluate my past investment's performance

March 1st, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Cash & Savings: $75,538 (2.88%)
Foreign Currency: $32,073 (0.31%)
US Brokerage: $142,331 (0.39%)
Overseas Brokerage: $99,042 (2.11%)
401(k): $63,064 (2.64%)
IRA: $94,890 (-1.13%)
Roth IRA: $28,214 (2.40%)
Total Assets: $535,152 (1.14%)

February turned out to be a tough month for emerging markets although my domestic stocks purchased in January have been doing okay. The other thing that drags my return is a new actively managed account I opened a few months ago, all the funds I purchased based on the account manager's recommendation have been losing money so far, very sad.

And another month has passed and I still didn't find the time to evaluate my past year's investment performance. This is not good. I really need to do this before end of March so I have time to make adjustment.

January 2011

February 1st, 2011 at 08:09 pm

Cash & Savings: $73,423 (-18.35%)
Foreign Currency: $31,975 (0.15%)
US Brokerage: $141,776 (10.42%)
Overseas Brokerage: $96,994 (-0.63%)
401(k): $61,444 (2.58%)
IRA: $95,974 (5.06%)
Roth IRA: $27,554 (18.24%)
Total Assets: $529,140 (1.29%)

As planned I moved a large chunk of cash into various accounts and despite the recent market turmoil I'm hoping my investment will pay off one day.

However, a month has passed and I still didn't have time to evaluate all my brokerage accounts 2010 performance, this is getting frustrating.

December 2010

January 3rd, 2011 at 07:11 pm

Cash & Savings: $89,922 (-23.13%)
Foreign Currency: $31,927 (5.62%)
US Brokerage: $128,396 (10.96%)
Overseas Brokerage: $97,613 (50.22%)
401(k): $59,898 (4.68%)
IRA: $91,355 (9.31%)
Roth IRA: $23,303 (-1.51%)
Total Assets: $522,414 (6.10%)

Due to my hectic traveling schedule I wasn't able to make the Nodevember update in time so I'm going straight to December instead. There are quite some significant updates on my total asset in the last two months:
1. I am able to access my foreign currency account 1.5 year later. The increase simply reflects the interest incurred during that time and its appreciation against USD, which is easy given how weak the green back is.
2. I opened a new actively managed brokerage account with $30,000. I'm hoping this account will perform better than my other accounts.
3. I made a small adjustment to my existing overseas brokerage account. I need to pay more attention to this account because it's performance is subpar compare to the overall market.
4. I moved $10,000 into a US brokerage account. The money will be invested in blue chips/high yield stocks. This money eventually will go to my sibling therefore it has to be relatively safe.

Despite the 5-week vacation I had in the last two months I was too occupied with other misc. things that removed me from looking into how my investment performed in 2011. That's a pity because I had plans to do other things as well but none of that happened due to all the new chores that came up in the last two months. I hope in the next two weeks I can finish my evaluation.

October 2010

November 1st, 2010 at 06:50 pm

Cash & Savings: $116,985 (-7.91%)
Foreign Currency: $30,228 (1.2%)
US Brokerage: $115,709 (10.28%)
Overseas Brokerage: $64,979 (11.9%)
401(k): $57,221 (5.6%)
IRA: $83,577 (6.26%)
Roth IRA: $23,660 (1.31%)
Total Assets: $492,359 (3.42%)

Some how I forgot to enter my September entries but it also helps to show the rising stock market in a more dramatic fashion.

It's only two months before 2011 and there are two important decisions to make in such a short time - 1) what to do with my RMB account? 2) Do I convert my traditional IRA into Roth?

August 2010 - With an adjusted rate of 3.25% should I pay down more principle?

September 17th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Cash & Savings: $127,031 (9.21%)
Foreign Currency: $29,870 (0.15%)
US Brokerage: $104,925 (3.63%)
Overseas Brokerage: $58,067 (5.37%)
401(k): $54,184 (3.22%)
IRA: $78,655 (0.9%)
Roth IRA: $23,353 (-0.32%)
Total Assets: $476,085 (4.32%)

Again by end of August my cash level sees a big increase due to expense reimbursment that skewed the actual. Some areas of the stock market remain strong surprisingly but the tanker stocks I own continue to be a disappointment due to weak demand and over supply of ships.

This month I also received a letter from my mortgage company saying my rate will be readjusted to an even lower one of 3.25% from 3.625%. I'm debating whether I should pay down more principle because even 3.25% is still higher than the average divident let alone bank interest rate. I still have 2 weeks to make up my mind.

July 2010

August 1st, 2010 at 07:49 pm

Cash & Savings: $116,314 (-2.04%)
Foreign Currency: $29,826 (0.3%)
US Brokerage: $101,254 (5.28%)
Overseas Brokerage: $55,107 (7.93%)
401(k): $52,493 (4.82%)
IRA: $77,955 (7.1%)
Roth IRA: $23,459 (2.16%)
Total Assets: $456,408 (3.37%)

July is exactly the opposite as last month where my cash position has dropped but brokerage accounts have increased. However, looking back the large cash position I had last month was caused by business expense reimbursement, not from actualy earnings/savings.

June 2010

July 1st, 2010 at 04:35 pm

Cash & Savings: $118,735 (4.75%)
Foreign Currency: $29,738 (0.44%)
US Brokerage: $96,174 (-0.62%)
Overseas Brokerage: $51,057 (4.17%)
401(k): $50,078 (1.54%)
IRA: $72,788 (-4.80%)
Roth IRA: $22,964 (-4.46%)
Total Assets: $441,534 (0.68%)

Despite losses mostly in my IRA and Roth IRA accounts my total asset actually went up due to the large cash position I hold. Just another proof that cash is king these days.

I haven't been trading any stocks for more than a year or probably longer. Just couldn't find anything that worth investing.

May 2010

June 1st, 2010 at 06:04 pm

Cash & Savings: $113,354 (2.87%)
Foreign Currency: $29,607 (0.00%)
US Brokerage: $96,772 (-5.07%)
Overseas Brokerage: $49,012 (-8.79%)
401(k): $49,320 (-1.61%)
IRA: $76,460 (-7.97%)
Roth IRA: $24,036 (-4.20%)
Total Assets: $438,561 (-3.35%)

The tide finally turned south, BIG, in the month of May. Overall I lost $20,000 in the stock market, at least on paper. Just as the popular saying goes, 'Sell in May and go away'. It is very true indeed.

I expect greater volatility in the months ahead as geopolitics and the Euro zone debt crisis continue to play out.

It seems like near term the only way to make some money other than betting on share price appreciation (or depreciation) is through dividend oriented stocks.

April 2010

May 2nd, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Cash & Savings: $110,192 (1.71%)
Foreign Currency: $29,607 (-0.06%)
US Brokerage: $101,938 (2.76%)
Overseas Brokerage: $53,735 (1.91%)
401(k): $50,127 (3.97%)
IRA: $83,085 (2.50%)
Roth IRA: $25,091 (1.81%)
Total Assets: $453,775 (2.24%)

I'm not sure how but my total assets actually increased in Apirl despite a sharp fall last week. In my line of business getting billable work is directly tied to how much commission you can receive and overall billable work started to dry up by end of Q1 and there is no pick up in sight. Not a good sign.


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