Happy New Year 2021!

Wish you all a very happy new year! Hope this year brings you more health, happiness and prosperity. When I wrote the new year post last year, little did I know that things will change so quickly. We have gone through some turbulent times indeed. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs, but on the whole I ended the year on a positive note. Without going into too much detail, let me recount what happened in my life in 2020.


Blog

First let me start with this blog. I wrote more than 100 articles last year! That is more than twice of what I wrote in 2019. I wrote on various topics including finance, unschooling, minimalism, self sustainability, organic gardening and health. Most recently I added a few new pages to the blog. Now there is some information about me and a way to contact me. More importantly I have added a start here page because now there are more than 180 articles in 14 categories and it can be overwhelming for new visitors. Now they have a place to start based on their interests. Do check it out.


Minor changes to the blog. Now you can check out start here, about and contact me at the top of the blog.

On mobile, these pages are under the menu

I held four meet-ups for my blog readers. The first one was a physical meeting, the rest were virtual meet-ups, but all of them were fun. I reviewed and gave advice on the financial plans of three readers of my blog. While I don’t ask for any payment for my advice, one person paid in kind. Thank you! To meet the expenses of running the blog, I also started showing some ads (not making any money out of it though).


Retirement

We have completed two and a half years in retirement. There is no doubt that this is still one of the best decisions of my life. Spent a lot of time with family especially with my daughter. I guess with COVID most people have been forced to spend time at home. So you can figure out if it is good or bad for you :). My daughter started a new tradition of movie night on the 1st of every month. So movie night today. Health and fitness goals are still going well. Made it half way (5th kyu) to black belt. Started another new tradition of 20 hour fast once a week to keep the gut happy.


Finances

There have been some bad investment outcomes in 2020. The first sign of trouble was when Franklin Ultra Short Term fund decided to markdown Vodafone bonds in the anticipation of default. It wiped out 4.5% of value in just one day. Then the stock market wiped out 30% of equity investments. This was followed by a wind-up of 6 Franklin debt funds. Almost 50% of my debt investments were completely locked out. Then lightening strike destroyed my electronics, not once but twice.


Thankfully that is where the storm ended. A few months later Franklin paid the full value of investment from Vodafone issues. I rebuilt my burnt electronics from scratch. Sensex is back up reaching new highs never seen before. So all good now.


Projects

During the last year I worked on several projects for my daughter including building a periscope, disk drop board game, rolling ball machine and a doll house all with cardboard. On the electronics front, I built my own DIY 5.1 AVR and drip irrigation control system. Coming to software, I worked on an investment app and tax filler script.


Others

We also started our organic gardening at full throttle and had a good harvest. Then my wife started posting on my blog about sustainable living. Finally COVID brought a lot of my friends closer together. I know this sounds strange, but that is exactly what happened. While we could not meet physically (well I met a small group), we all got excited to meet virtually. Every quarter I now have virtual meet-ups with engineering friends, school friends and also the blog readers. So I have one virtual meet-up every month of the year :).


January, April, July, October — Engineering friends meet-up
February, May, August, November — re-ynd meet-up
March, June, September, December — School friends meet-up


Conclusion

The year 2020 was super packed for me. With so much happening in our lives I wonder how I can find time to do any more things. While there was a small market crash it was neither big nor long enough to cause a concern. Since I started investing in 2011 I never went through a big and long bad market cycle like the one in 2002 and 2008. So I am still looking for that experience, to go through some troubling times, to really check my behavior and grit under stress. Do I have the nerves of steel or will I crumble under pressure? Have to wait and see. All said and done, the year 2020 was not such a bad year after all. At least for me.


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