My 2018 And The Year I Found My Other Half

One of the rare few blogposts I will make time to write every year is definitely my annual year in reviews. While not a lot of people are reading this anymore, I find it refreshing every time i look back at all my past years and see what I set out to do and if I have achieved them in the years.

So this year will be no different, and while I’ve lost some, I’ve made back a lot more in life.

Career

2018 was both a year of growth and decline for us, so net net, I’m glad that we survived 2018. This year, our revenue more than doubled our revenue for 2017, something that exceeded my initial forecast for the year. Super thankful for a great business partner John who basically brought in most of the big sales this year, as well as the team who executed tirelessly.

While revenue increased, our collective pageviews and reach declined across the board. I think this is a combination of both an updated social algorithm as well as the amount of content available out there, making it super hard to stand out and capture the attention of the internet audience.

That said, we are thankful for clients who believed in us, especially new clients such as DBS (ok not exactly new), Workforce SG, Singapore Tourism Board (Passion Made Possible), HPB, IDS, Shiseido and more. I think without them, it will be an extra stressful year for us.

We won some awards too:

Spark Awards, organised by Marketing Interactive

  1. Best Media Solution Digital (Bronze) – DBS Marina Regatta 2018
  2. Best Creative Team (Silver) – DBS Marina Regatta 2018
  3. Best Website (Bronze) – Millennials of KL
  4. Best Content Team (Bronze) – DBS TwentyXThirty
Marketing Excellence Awards, organised by Marketing Interactive
  1. Excellence in Sports Marketing (Silver) – DBS Marina Regatta 2018

Our Malaysia business stagnate, and towards the end of the year, we’ve decided to pull the plug on our PH operations. While PH might be promising, we couldn’t get the right partner to lead the team for us there. On top of that, the potential profit from the country, when converted back to SGD, will not increase our margin as much as we want to, if we reach that stage. Replicating the same model and set of problems to Philippines for the potential returns doesnt seem that attractive anymore once we realized the trouble we have to go through.

Last year too, I envisioned that we will try to exit some of the portfolios we have, but unfortunately, most of them flopped. And through all of these experiences, I’ve learnt that, rather than focusing our monetary resources outwards, we should look at building up our cores.

So overall, we won some, and we lost some. And the same thing goes for 2019, as we grow, how do we then prepare to refresh the team’s energy, come out with new innovative content to remain competitive, as well as increasing both our revenue and profit for the new year?

Personal Finance

On the personal finance front, as you have noticed in my past few blog post entries, I’ve been actively managing my personal finance this year.

One of the biggest changes for me this year was actively tracking my expenses so I know where my money is spent on. To my surprise, every month, on average I will be spending S$3000 – S$4000, and sometimes creeping up to S$6000! Every month, there will be unexpected expenses that pops up, mostly related to travel or home expenses in Malaysia. I will be writing an entry on this.

For my investment wise, it has bee a bad year. With the ongoing trade war and stock correction, my US portfolio has been in the red and all my earnings from 2017 has been lost to the market. The good thing is that, I’ve liquidated all my holdings recently, and my total US portfolio is just breaking even with some extra profits. All those profits last year (20-30% gain!) are gone – so I’m treating it as a lesson.

I’m hopeful though, with the market correcting itself now, I will be ready to ride the upwave when it comes!

This year too, I’ve bought some Singapore Savings Bond from the money I’ve liquidated from my US stocks, as well as contributed to my CPF account for tax relief and retirement planning. For my Singapore dividend portfolio, the dividend return was a paltry 3.6%, with most, if not all of the stock counters in the red.

Overall, my personal liquid net worth grew by 50% this year, mostly contributed by employment and miscellaneous income. Not a bad number but that number will become smaller soon. Also glad that I’m now exposed to SSB as well as am familiar with CPF contributions, and that now I have a decent “sense” of the numbers and market timing and price movement.

Personal Life

On the personal front, 2018 was the year I’ve finally met my partner in life, Li Ru.

Like finally. 🙂

After a long long time of being single, both Li Ru (only single for a while haha) and I swiped right to each other on Coffee Meets Bagel in March, and fast forward to today, we’ve been dating for 8 months now, travelled to Japan and also brought her back to see my mum. If all goes well, we should probably be married in a year or two.

I often tell her this, that she’s the one that saved my life.

Other notable things:

  • This year, I’ve also travelled to Turkey with the family during our annual family trip.
  • And bought myself a gaming desktop because I’ve been playing a lot of Dota.
  • Turned 30!
  • Twin is getting married and gave her a huge marriage angpao
  • Condo in KL will probably be done end of next year, ready to be rented out

2019

As we enter 2019, I think I’m feeling more stressed and worried, rather than hopeful.

Stress because, we are saving for our wedding now and Li Ru’s house will be ready end of the year, hence both the wedding and house will take up a lot of expenses.

Stress because, it is hard to find much breakthrough for GRVTY Media in 2019, and what we are expecting is just continued growth in revenue. And I dont know how to fix it.

Stress because, our Malaysia team is platueing and our partner Sarah there is also showing signs of being jaded already.

Stress because, the stock market are very volatile and dangerous.

However, hopeful for 2019, because at the end of the day, I now know that I can always go back to my partner, and she will always be there for me.

And that everything will be ok.

May 2019 be a good year for all of us!

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