2019 Income/Expense Report – Reaching FI by 40

It kinda seems like I’m always blogging during the holidays, with Chinese New Year just 2 days away. This year started rather slow for me, and I hope it stays this way because I’m not very excited to be changing the first number in front of my age. Just trying to delay the inevitable in my dreams, I guess.

I had some time this week for self reflection and I read through some of my old blog posts. Generally, my goals towards being financially free hasn’t changed, but I think my personality was a little altered because of a shift in priorities in my life. My old blog posts were raving with creativity on how to maximize returns while spending lesser. In fact I did a lot of research and spent most of my time thinking about how to make passive income in the right way, and the best way possible.

This attitude has changed after being actively vested in the stock market for 2 years. I still scout for stocks – but not as often, and I still get that adrenaline rush whenever I lose or make money in a short amount of time. But other than those once-in-a-while moments, I am rather numb to all the fluctuations in my portfolio. Double digit reds within a day? Meh, I’ll just buy more tomorrow.

That actually left me rather empty, and I moved a lot of my time to gaming. I’m threading on a thin line here. The last addiction I had to a game was Maplestory during my secondary school days. Wonder if anyone else can relate.

I became anti-social because all I wanted to do was to stay at home and protect my castle. I didn’t even bother to go out anymore to meet friends, and I didn’t feel the need to have to “entertain” someone when I didn’t want to. I used work as an excuse for the lack of time for even a quick 2-hour dinner meet up, and I actually don’t feel guilty about it because I would rather make people look stupid on a mobile game than look stupid myself in real life.

Also, do you know how much money I actually saved by not attending weddings?

Gaming is cheaper than socializing. In real life. Period.

So I kinda solved that problem by bringing my offline social circle to becoming online. Now, some of my close friends also play Lords Mobile, and I even managed to convince Matthew to play with me! I also met some awesome people online, if that’s what counts as being “sociable”.

Oh no, what’s happening to me! #QuitGaming. I hope you’ll still wanna be friends with me after reading this blog post…


But alright let’s get back to the more important stuff. Back to my goals set for 2019:

My income goal

  1. Increase total income by 10%. (Achieved)
  2. Increase passive income from dividends to $4,500 (Partially achieved)

My expenses goal

  1. Reduce total expenses to $20,000 (I can do it!) (Not achieved)

Overall goal

  1. Increase Total Passive Income over Expenses to 20% (Not achieved)
  2. Increase Savings Rate to 75% (Almost achieved)

Income goal

Actual total income increased by at least 15%, due to an increment from my work. Unfortunately it will stay this way for 2020 since I will not be entitled to any bonus payout this year. I have nothing to complain about since a 15% increase for 2 years is better than being jobless.

Total passive income in 2019 (not limited to dividends) amounted to $4523.01, and please read this blog post for my overall breakdown.

Expenses goal


My overall spending increased by 3.68% to an annual amount of $26,686.40. This year, the “Family” category takes the cake again and holds a whooping 40% of my entire spending. It is indeed a significant amount and remains the most volatile spending that I have. Some of the money went to funding my brother’s school fees.

I did eat out more often and became a little fancier with my food choices, but to have it increase by 40.3% is quite surprising, especially when I did not keep a tight budget to constrain my gluttony desires. I will now commit to preparing more meals at home since I will have more time in 2020, and yes, work is no longer a valid excuse. Hopefully, also shed some weight in the process. One interesting fact is that I managed to hit Starbucks Gold member for the first time, and I realized how much my friends and I uses its cafe(?) to chillax. I mean the coffee’s alright but damn those big cushiony chairs that lets you cosy up to your mate. I know where the soft spots are at for me…

“Vacation” category definitely went down. I did not travel much in 2019, and do not intend to either in 2020. Having the opportunity to travel 7 times in the prior year, I just didn’t enjoy the feeling of taking a flight anymore. I feel rather home-bound now, and I guess that’s a good thing for my pocket, at least? Maybe a few visits to our lovely neighboring countries wouldn’t be too costly, but I better put those shields up… 😡

“Entertainment” expenses went up the most this time by 73.2% to $3088.57. I bought a chio laptop during one of the IT fairs last year and I hope that it will serve me well for at least 3-4 years. Other than that, the category also includes spending for movies, presents, gaming, online shopping and stuff for my home. I think I did pretty well if I took the laptop away.

“Transport” and “Insurance” expenses stayed rather stagnant which is expected, and it still stays <$150 per month for each category so I deserve a pat on the shoulder for being an avid rider of the trustworthy SBS bus/MRT. Double cheers for being a shareholder at the same time!

Overall goal

Total Passive Income over Expenses (%):

FY2017: 3.71% (annualized)

FY2018: 10.97%

FY2019: 17.04%

I did not reach the goal of 20%, but I had an improvement of a few percentage points even with an increase of expenses. This would only mean that I employed more liquid capital to passive income sources such as the SSB, DBS Multiplier and stocks.

If nothing much changes, pumping the same amount of capital with similar annual yields, while maintaining a low increase in yearly expenses, it is estimate that I can reach that 100% by 2030. It will definitely change, but at least it gives me an idea now on how far I am from FI/FF.

My savings rate increased to around 68% due to a low increase in expenditure and higher income levels. I fell short for the initial goal of 75% but I was probably being a little too ambitious last year.

Goals for 2020

My income goal

  1. Increase total income by 10%
  2. Increase passive income from dividends to $6,500

My expenses goal

  1. Reduce total expenses to $25,000

Overall goal

  1. Increase Total Passive Income over Expenses to 25%
  2. Increase Savings Rate to 70%

Thanks for reading and I wish you have an awesome “rat” year ahead. Huat ah!

Miss Niao xoxo.

P.S: There have been readers sending me emails, but I apologize for not replying to them as promptly. From now, I will check my email consistently every week. For all emails before that, I will only reply to some. If I did not reply, and you still need information please send me another email. As explained, 1 week will be the longest time that you will receive a response from me, unless it is urgent then you can choose to spam me a little.

You can send me an email for basically any reason. Chit chat/talk cock sing song/make a new friend. I am all ears! To send me an email, you have to go to the “Contact” page and hit me up. Please leave your email there (it is a mandatory field) otherwise I cannot reply to you.

P.S.S: If anyone wants to play Lords Mobile with me, please send me your in-game nickname using the “Contact” page. Thanks in advance!

Author: Miss Niao

Hello! I blog about financial matters and things that average people can do to have a better retirement. I want to inspire people to take control of their money and have a better understanding about it. If you are interested to know more, follow me @ missniao.wordpress.com! :)

11 thoughts on “2019 Income/Expense Report – Reaching FI by 40”

  1. Hi Ms Niao,

    Don’t give yourself too much pressure. You have made significant improvements in 2019. The most important thing is to be happy in the things which you will like to do. Eliminate the things which are not of interest and value to you.

    I will have gone for minimalist lifestyle to remove the unnecessary clutters.

    My two cents worth of views.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. As an avid gamer myself, I can totally empathize with the addictive potential of games.

    I still turn to games every now and then during my free time so I think you don’t have to totally quit gaming but maybe set aside time block to relieve stress after a day of hard work and don’t let it control you.

    In any case, that is a superb progress for you in 2019. Happy Rat Year to you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

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