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Gosh, time flies. Many things have changed but some things still remain.

For one, Covid is still with us. For the everyday person, we’ve moved from Covid to the delta variant and now, to Omicron. We’ve done as much as we can as far as protection is concerned. Most people are already vaccinated and boosted. We’ve still kept our masks on and limitations on group sizes and certain activities (anyone remembers what clubs and KTVs are anymore?) are still a thing.

I hope 2022 will be the year where we move another step closer to the way things used to be. Maybe we’ll still have to keep our masks on (hopefully, we’ll move to masks on when indoors only) for a while more but at least we should be able to start to move back towards having the government take a more hands-off approach to things.

The markets

Things have gone splendidly well for the markets this year. What was it? 70 new highs for the S&P500? I don’t know if things will go as well next year but let’s hope they will. I haven’t positioned my portfolio for aggressive growth but I’m not positioned for a crash either.

However, the three scheduled rate hikes coming in 2022 should provide some pause. Will it crash the markets? I don’t think so. The market now is a completely different beast from the 2000s or in the lead-up to the Global Financial Crisis.

If anything, 2021 has actually taken some steam out of the more speculative areas of the market. Take Ark Invest for example. 2021 has been Ark Invest’s flagship fund worst year since inception with the fund falling 20%. With the coming rate hikes, it’s going to be even less attractive to be in the more speculative areas of the market.

What about the broader market like the S&P500? Some people argue that the S&P 500 is becoming increasingly concentrated in the big tech giants like Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft. They aren’t wrong. However, those companies also account for the lion’s share of the profits in the S&P 500. (see the graph titled “Top 25 Firms” at this link)

Is that particularly speculative? I think not.

Personal Stuff

This year has been fairly quiet on the personal front. Life has been peaceful and while the delta variant made things suck for many people, I rather enjoyed the fact that Work-From-Home was the default for most of the year.

This was offset by the burdens that work placed on me this year. On top of the additional duties from a new appointment, I have been involved in one big project and was also asked to join a task force that involved some very senior people.

To be fair, no one does more work because they want to and the people I’m surrounded by are really smart people. The problem is when you’re a cog in a large machine and for whatever reason, someone far removed decides to make some changes and it cascades down. In fact, it would be a lot easier if we were dealing with machines because machines are a closed system.

The work itself isn’t difficult but it involves doing many little, annoying things. And I particularly hate doing annoying things. This is why my experience over the past year only further strengthened my resolve. I need to take my portfolio more seriously.

The good news is despite my relative inaction, the portfolio grew by 20-odd percent. However, it’s hit the limits of how fast it can grow even after constant contributions to the portfolio. Going forward, the portfolio will need to see more contribution from investment returns or growth will be minimal.

I’ve been looking into various portfolio strategies and coding little helper scripts that will help me manage my portfolio more effectively.

Next year, you’ll hear about how it’s turned out.

Hello 2022

So here’s my wishlist for 2022:

  • Markets will be neutral to bullish
  • Living with Covid will converge even further to Life before Covid
  • Less emails and MS Teams meetings
  • Good health and wealth for my loved ones

No matter what’s happened in 2021, I hope that 2022 will be good for you and your portfolio.