Day to Day, Thoughts

Year in Review 2021

In a twinkle of an eye, 2021 is ending soon and 2022 is approaching round the corner. A lot of things have happened this year and it made January 2021 seems just like yesterday. People says, “Times flies while you are having fun.”, unfortunately this year does not seems fun at all. Not at all. But let us have faith and conviction that no matter what happens, we can make lemonades out of lemons. And reviewing the year’s events and performance let us learn and do better.

The early part of my 2021 started with venturing out on a new development platform – Microsoft Dynamics 365 (CRM) with a new CRM consultant. An exciting new prospect was an understatement. It has become a challenge, and at times a source of friction, even for the company as a whole. However, it is still a work in progress and I hope that in 2022, we are able to get the resources we badly need and put ourselves (and the company) in a better position to grow from it. To be honest, I am fine with working on Microsoft CRM under certain conditions, but Microsoft Business Central 365 is still the best platform to work with as compared to Microsoft CRM.

Work From Home (WFH) was relaxed in the first half of the year until the COVID-19 Delta variant arrived at our shores. During that time, we moved office from Golden Mile Complex to Golden Mile Tower. It was not a big move, as compared to the move from Mandai Estate, but we missed the toilets at complex, for they are much cleaner. We definitely miss the good memories we had in Golden Mile Complex office and it was more cozy and brighter there.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, Chinese New Year, birthdays and other family gathering and celebrations are more toned down. We still get to celebrate quietly together and we treasure our relationship and family event more. We definitely prefer to have more family gatherings and celebrations as long as it is safe to do so.

The 3Q of 2021 was a period of worries and sadness. My father in law passed away in a traffic accident and we do miss him badly. To me, he was one of the closest person I had as a fatherly role model. After that, our families got quarantined for COVID-19 as some of our family members caught it. As the country starts to open up and ease into an endemic state, more of my friends and colleagues start to get quarantine orders. It was unnerving.

This year has been pretty much stressful and naturally when under stress, health issues arises. There has been a lot of trips to the hospitals and clinics and I really hope these will end. Also, my old injuries on my front teeth has returned to haunt me and I had to see my dentist more frequently than I would have liked.

In 4Q of 2021, a few of my long time colleagues decided to join the “Great Resignation”, and with no replacement in sight and the company expanding to Malaysia, the rest of us have to make do with what we have. Tensions at work has been rising too, especially so from the recent accusation to the management that a senior member of the team has been idling. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone knows that the team has been working hard, including the senior members, and especially the manager. The insane number of nights and weekends burnt to deliver our services to the customers that could have been spent with our families and loved ones was discredited and it has upset and demoralize the team. It has certainly been rough for us.

Last but not least, here are the top 5 posts/pages of 2021

  1. Hugo – First Impression
  2. NAV2016 – How to Import Excel Data into NAV
  3. Business Central – How to use PromotedActionCategories
  4. Lenovo ThinkPad X13 AMD
  5. Bookmarks

As the end of 2021 draws to a close, let us not kid ourselves that 2022 is going to be a better year. More likely, it is going to be filled with even more uncertainties and disruptions. But let’s be hopeful for the future. Let us pray that we have the strength, resilience, kindness and compassion to meet the challenges ahead. May we all grow stronger and more matured from these ordeals.

“Vivere Militare Est”

Day to Day, Reviews

Hugo – 6 Months later

It has been roughly 6 months, almost half a year since I signed up for my Hugo account, got my Hugo card and wrote an article about it here. I will be sharing some of my thoughts and use cases today so that you can gain some insights or benefit from it.

But first, let us get some things sorted out before we continue. This article, including the previous one, are not meant to be financial advice. The purpose of these articles are to share my thoughts and experience so that you, as a reader, can use them as a reference. What you do after that is based on your own choice and responsibility. With that out of the way, let us continue.

An Overview

Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com

A lot of things has happened for the past 6 months, and my peers would agree with me that this year, 2021, seems to be worse than 2020 when COVID-19 struck.

  • Delta variant in Singapore around the 2H of the year
  • China regulatory crackdowns and Evergrande issue
  • Inflationary risk
  • Rise of cryptocurrency trading and NFTs
  • Huge uncertainties in the market
  • Omicron variant getting ominous

So what do I think of Hugo and where it stands amidst all these noise and chaos? Here are some quotes from the article “Making the Singaporean Case for Gold” by David Fergusson, CEO and co-founder of Hugo.

… the gold market is still one of the most liquid markets in the world, with roughly US$200bn traded on recognised exchanges, making it the 3rd largest financial market.

Making the Singaporean Case for Gold, David Fergusson (2021, para. 10)
Retrieved from https://hugosave.blog/singaporeans-buy-gold/

Thus, having gold in their portfolios can serve to dampen out the volatility. Not only is it liquid, but Gold is also one of the rare asset classes that are non-correlated. This means that you can put it in your portfolio as insurance, and you can be comfortable that if the world around you blows up (or when your Bitcoin value goes in the opposite direction as the moon), your Gold will provide you safe-haven performance and lower the turbulence somewhat.

Making the Singaporean Case for Gold, David Fergusson (2021, para. 13)
Retrieved from https://hugosave.blog/singaporeans-buy-gold/

Given the current amount of uncertainties in the economy and markets, and with an increasingly bleak outlook for 2022, it would be prudent to plan for the worse. In this regard, I do think that Hugo is one of the options to consider as a safety net or hedge against rough times. Even our government has increased gold reserves by 20% lately.

Photo by Alizee Marchand on Pexels.com

There is an idiom, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. That is why I am using Hugo as one of the tools I have to dampen volatility when the going gets rough. I do applaud their Wealthcare® buddy concept which encourages people to spend smarter, save for their goals and grown their wealth. These are good financial habits to cultivate for everyone. However for this article, I will cover my use case(s) for the following:

  • Roundups
  • Money Pots

Roundups

I would use my Hugo Visa Debit card on small purchases such as public transport, grocery shopping, and day-to-day small expenses. Do not underestimate all these small expenditures, with Roundups, they amount to quite a bit of cash. If you have lots of small transactions daily, you can probably just rely on Roundups for gold purchases instead of manually doing dollar cost averaging (DCA). Having said that, I still do buy gold from time to time during the occasional dips in prices. For bigger purchases, I would delegate these to my credit cards that offer better rewards and/or cash backs.

One of the initial hurdles I had when making use of Roundups was changing my habits. I was used to using one credit card for all my purchases, hence there was a need for conscious effort to adjust my usage to maximize the benefits accordingly. I have an odd habit though. Instead of automating bank transfers to my Hugo account, I would do it manually. It serves as a reminder for me to be aware of my expenses and where my money is going. Sometimes by doing too much automation, one might take for granted certain details in life and when there is a problem, it might be too late.

Money Pots

To be honest, I’m not using Money Pots at the moment as I do not have a use case for it – yet. To some it might be helpful, such as enforcing a saving habit to park a dollar each day to buy a toy or gadget for their birthday. It would be nice if there is a way to earn interest or reward points by fulfilling goal targets under certain conditions. Or perhaps, gamifying it could encourage its usage or provide more incentives to achieve their goals. Just my 2 cents.

My Thoughts

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

Gold provides a practical option to diversify your portfolio and dampen volatility. With Hugo, it is more accessible and easier now. However, it has no lack of competitors vying for attention and a share of investment money. The latest entrant are digital assets such as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They are changing the status quo as we speak.

For instance, we now have a wide variety of gold-backed cryptocurrencies available on the market. Some examples are Tether Gold (XAUT), DigixGlobal (DGX), PAX Gold (PAXG), Perth Mint Gold Token (PMGT), and Gold Coin (GLC). All these digital tokens are backed by physical gold and they allow fractional purchase, which means one token is worth X gram of gold.

MAS frowns on cryptocurrencies or tokens as an investment asset for retail investors. The prices of crypto tokens are not anchored on any economic fundamentals and are subject to sharp speculative swings. Investors in these tokens are at risk of suffering significant losses.

“The Future of Money, Finance and the Internet” – Speech by Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, at Singapore FinTech Festival on 9 November 2021
Retrieved from https://www.mas.gov.sg/news/speeches/2021/the-future-of-money-finance-and-the-internet

In terms of safety, under Hugo General Terms, Section 7.6 (e), it is stated that – “Your funds are protected to the extent the safeguarding bank, DBS, is a Deposit Insurance (DI) Scheme member bank under the Deposit Insurance Scheme of the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation Limited, SDIC.”. Hence your money in Hugo is covered under SDIC similar to a bank.

And under the Hugo Gold Metal Agreement, under Terms of Custody – “Hugo shall store for the Customer precious metal sold by Hugo to the Customer or deposited by the Customer at the designated Storage Facility, subject to the terms of this Agreement. All metal held in storage shall remain the property of Customer at all times.”. I also like that in their agreement, you are able to transfer your gold assets under certain circumstances.

When examining the terms of one of the major cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore – monies in fiat wallet are not covered under SDIC. Crypto assets in the exchange might be insured but only under certain circumstances.

Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

In my humble opinion, buying gold through Hugo is much more easier and safer as compared to gold-backed cryptocurrencies now. Although it is not as sexy nor exciting compared to other investment products out in the market now, i.e. (Roboadvisors, ETFs, ESG funds, digital assets), gold has been around way longer and it will continue to be relevant in the future.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against crypto assets, in fact I have invested into them. The general consensus is typically allocating about 5%-10% of your portfolio in crypto assets. Moving forward, it is inevitable that digital assets/cryptocurrencies will work together with existing financial instruments to create new products and opportunities which will be very different from now.

Once again, please be reminded that these are my own opinions and are not financial advice. I am not a qualified licensed financial advisor. And I will not be liable for any damage or losses arising from usage of these information. Please do your own research. If you are interested in signing up for a Hugo account, you can use my referral link here.

Updates

Is Gold a Bad Investment? My current views and thoughts.

Coding, Day to Day

Business Central – Code vs Text data type

When I first started doing NAV/BC development, I would get a bit confused over the purpose of Code and Text data type from time to time. After all, they are quite similar in function and role. Both of them store a string of text. It is also quite novel to me after working with Java, C++, VB.NET to see this type of data structure.

In the beginning, I assumed that Code data type’s role is for primary key and text is for everything else. While this is a fair assumption, I realized this is not the case as I gained experience over the years. There are use cases where you might want to use a code over text and in others text over code data types.

I have seen people using Code data type for storing record descriptions when a Text data type would be a better option. I have also made similar mistake when I started out, using a Code data type to store password when I should be using a Text data type.

Text data type denotes a text string, they are general purposes and comes with a lot of text manipulation functions. The Text data type is a value type, such that every time you use a method on it, you are creating a new text string object in memory. This means that there will be an allocation of space for each instance you are using it, which equates to overheads. It should not be a deal breaker unless you are dealing with and/or need to manipulate massive amount of textual data.

Code data type denotes a special type of string. The values are always converted and stored in uppercase and all leading and trailing spaces are removed. A Code variable cannot be null. That is what makes it so suitable for use as a primary/unique/referential key data type.