Finances: From a financial perspective, the main object remains unchanged: to ensure that we can maintain our current lifestyle without returning to the workforce indefinitely. I recently did a review and even supposing a modest drop in dividend and rental income, the recent declines in share prices and Hong Kong property values have not threatened our retirement. From a cash flow perspective, we are slightly negative (looking at only the Hong Kong based assets) until May 2021 when the mortgage on our home is paid off. However:
- the deficit is covered twice over by Hong Kong cash on hand;
- can be reduced by shifting investments into higher yielding securities; can be reduced by investing the excess cash;
- will shrink a bit when the mortgage on one of our investment properties is paid off in June 2018; and
- has a partial backstop of in the form of income from assets held outside Hong Kong.
I will make a few changes to the portfolio over the next few weeks (one has been done already) to boost income a little and, give current equity valuations, will probably deploy some of the excess cash as well.
In short, our finances are fine.
Writing: After a multi-year delay, the novel is almost ready to be sent to a copy editor by the end of the month, after which it will be self-published as an e-book and available by print on demand. I may try to sell it to publishers but am not optimistic given that I know that much better writers than me have been unsuccessful in securing a publishing contract. Regardless, after four (?) years it feels great to be able to say that I have (almost) written a full length novel. I also have a rough outline + character sketches for the main characters so my second writing objective is to write a substantial amount of the second novel and be in a position to self publish by the end of 2017.
Fitness: I am starting the year in good shape. I finished the Hong Kong marathon in a slow time and (so far) appear to be injury free. Subject to getting in trough the lottery, I have signed up with a team for the Hong Kong Trailwalker (target time is 30 hours but I hope that will come down to closer to 24 hours if all goes well).
Other: I intend to continue with both my part time job (interesting and a little extra cash is always welcome) and the current volunteer activities (interesting and it's nice to give something back) but have no plans to expand either as that would (i) intrude on other activities and (ii) feel too much like work. The more substantial other is the possibility of doing another degree - I enjoyed the MFA experience a lot and, among other things, it left me with an interest in literary theory. The issue is that the application deadlines for 2016 start have been and gone so I would probably not be able to start anything until September 2017 which seem like a long time to wait. Also, I would want to do either a research degree or a part time degree which narrows the options considerably.