As you may have noticed, the world has gone absolutely insane in the past three months. Since the start of the year, the stock markets I’ve been investing in were on a downward spiral due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Millions of people are in lockdown and still no cure or vaccine in sight. I read how the Spanish flu killed millions in 1918-1920 and I hope I’m wrong but what’s going on right now has the same energy.
So what I’m saying is, worrying about the decreasing value of my retirement portfolio seems asinine at this moment, especially given the fact that I’m in South Korea (which has the second most number of cases, at the time of writing) and I share the same dentist with one person who was confirmed to have the COVID-19 virus.
I’ve been putting off writing this net worth update because I’ve been in denial and can’t confront the fact that my portfolios (in both peso and US dollar) are in the red. I don’t want to look at my trading accounts and see them bleeding.
But at the same time, I totally took advantage of the falling index fund prices and just stopped buying more shares until I was left with only my emergency funds in cash. You can say that my response to the current market situation has been mixed.
My March 2020 Net Worth
Here’s my March 2020 net worth, in matrix format:
|Amount in Pesos||Amount in USD|
|House and Lot||1,800,000.00||35,227.78|
|Investments – Minority Partner in a business||150,000||2,935.65|
|Investment – Gown Rental||40,000||782.84|
|Loan for Condominium||1,870,000.00||36,597.75|
|ASSETS – LIABILITIES = 7,480,487.67 – 1,870,000.00 = 5,610,487.67|
|MARCH 2020 = 5,610,487.67 // $109,802.80|
Comparing this to my last net worth update in July 2019:
Loan for house and lot
Overall, my net worth increased by 10.57% or $10,498.72 from July 2019 to March 2020. This was driven by:
- Additional contributions to my retirement account thru my work provident fund, BPI PERA account, and First Metro index ETF; and
- Paying off my Pag-IBIG mortgage
I said last time that I wasn’t sure if I’ll be able to contribute further to my retirement in the second half of 2019 because I was planning on paying off the mortgage early and contributing more to my son’s college fund. But since I didn’t travel, I saved so much money.
I know… if only I don’t go on expensive trips so much, I would’ve already been further along in my FIRE journey. But all work and no play makes Katie Scarlett a dull girl.
In any case, with the COVID-19 epidemic, I probably won’t be able to go anywhere again this year. But again, I’m hoping I’m wrong and the world scientific community will be able to find the cure and make the vaccines soon. Nope, prayers don’t work.
Some New Things
Around September last year, I had the opportunity to invest in my friend’s gown rental business. I’m now the proud owner of several ball gowns for rent at GRM – Princess Gowns and Costume Rental. If you’re looking for gowns, formal dresses, and even costumes for any event – prom, weddings, pageants, knighthood ceremonies, audiences with royalty, whatever – we have what you need. And we’re still expanding.
I also decided to buy/reserve a new condominium unit, which is still at preselling and will be turned over in a little more than 2 years. So far, I’ve made around 6 equity payments. I’ll add it to my net worth (both asset and liability sides) once I get a mortgage.
After paying off my house and lot (where my parents currently live), I’m planning on putting the freed up money towards paying off the mortgage of my first condo. If you remember, that condo is already paying for itself. But I want to eliminate debt on this condo as soon as I can.
Another development – I got 2 life insurance policies. One is a Korean insurance plan with Samsung (they don’t just sell mobile phones) and the other is….. a variable universal life insurance (VUL).
I want to clarify the VUL issue though, because I know I discouraged people from getting them before. I haven’t changed my opinion about VULs – I still don’t think it’s a good investment. Don’t mix your investments with insurance wrappers.
I bought my VUL not as an investment but to approximately mirror how my Korean insurance policy works. I’m not using it grow my money, nor is it a part of my retirement fund.
This VUL is merely to have life (1) insurance coverage and (2) long-term disability coverage. And because I don’t want the other riders, I’m not paying more than Php35,000 a year, which is about the same amount I’m paying for my Korean insurance.
So far, I’m not yet absolutely sure if having that VUL is the best I can do to replicate the Korean plan, but I’m sticking with it. Anyway, I only want to maintain the insurance for 10 years at most, or until my son becomes an adult and gets a job, or when my investments grow so much I don’t need to have an insurance policy.
Financial Goals for 2020
For 2020, here are the financial goals I want to achieve:
- Invest at least 15% of my income for retirement.
- Rebalance portfolio to include more US index funds.
- Aggressively add more money to my son’s college fund. His college fund is invested in First Metro index ETF (FMETF) and Vanguard Total Index ETF. I don’t include these in my net worth.
- Make sure that my parent’s SSS, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG memberships are up-to-date. Also make sure that their health insurance coverage are paid off. Just renewed my father’s Maxicare plan while my mother is under my sister’s health plan coverage from work.
- Keep a list of all assets, including furniture, books, etc., not only for net worth tracking purposes but also for insurance claims, if ever. This goal is recycled from last year. I hope to do better this year.
- Save up for my required in-campus classes in Harvard Extension School. I shared before that I’m taking classes in HES, which is the university’s online school for non-traditional learners (those who have full time jobs and don’t live in the Boston area).
- Save up for a big trip if not by the middle of the year on my birthday, by the end of 2020. I really want to go back to South America and explore Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia. Or maybe visit my friends in Switzerland and visit the shooting locations of Crash Landing on You. I’m obsessed!
Despite the fact that my stock holdings are currently in free-fall, my net worth still increased in the past 8 months. At least things are not so bleak in the financial front. Unlike a lot of investors right now who are planning on selling their holdings, I’m able to keep it zen because I won’t be needing the money for at least 30 more years.
Having my 2 insurance policies (and work insurance plan, which also offers great benefits – benefits that I don’t want to take advantage of) also contribute to my peace of mind and overall mental health. In case I die, my child and parents will be taken care of and won’t be destitute.
I just hope that the COVID-19 epidemic ends soon. I’ve been enjoying the memes but a lot of vulnerable people are suffering physically, emotionally, and financially. Not only are people scared to get sick, they’re also worried about losing their livelihoods.
My brother who drives a Grab taxi is scared of going to work but feels like he has limited choice since he doesn’t have any money. My sister who has a young son to feed, clothe, and send to school (also potentially send to the Olympics, cross fingers) commutes to work via the MRT daily. Millions of regular people like them are scared but have no other choice.
I know out there some out of touch politician or rich person would say: why don’t you just stop working and stay at home so you won’t get the virus? Well, whoever you are, you should go fuck yourself.
I can’t help but feel very sad for our country now that I’m seeing and experiencing first hand how the Korean government takes care of its citizens. I can’t help but be envious.
That was bleak.
Anyway, have you taken the time to write down your net worth so far? How did you do? Let me know in the comments!