Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Last month

I am now down to my final month in the work force. While I am looking forward to my retirement, it is not without some trepidation that I will be saying goodbye to my career and my pay cheque.

Financially, this year has not been a great one - I have seen my investment in China Metal Recycling (HK:773) reduced to zero, my investment in iShares India has dropped by nearly 30% since the start of the year (but still comfortably above what I paid), the privatisation of China VTM Mining (HK:893) failed causing the shares to drop by over 40% (now partially recovered) and (most significantly), the AUD and NZD have fallen sharply against the USD/HKD. I am also seeing property valuation decline from their peak (which does not bother me at all) and am expecting rental incomes to fall and vacancies to increase as leases come due for renewal (which does affect me). Add in the HKSAR government's mandatory window inspection which is costing me thousands of dollars per apartment and two properties going through refurbishment and the outgoings have been high this year.

But in spite of these issues, I should not forget that:

1. the portfolio as a whole is still doing its job. The issues with equity investments identified above have been mostly offset by good performances elsewhere;

2. all the properties are fully occupied, all tenants are paying on time and there is still more cash coming in than going out. I now have one Hong Kong property mortgage free and am considering paying off the mortgage on one of the others;

3. when I put the numbers into FIRECalc or my own spreadsheet, I have to assume a lot of bad things before I have to worry about sustaining my retirement. I still worry far more about inflation than I do about market volatility;

4. I have more cash than I would like. While this liquidity provides short term safety, it creates long term risk. Finding a home for at least some of the cash is something of a priority right now.

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