Oura Ring Review

For something completely different…

Over the course of past few months, I have been reading and learning a lot about sleep. I bought a copy of the book Why We Sleep by Dr. Matthew Walker and listened to a few interviews on podcasts (I really enjoyed the Joe Rogan Experience episode from April 2018). There are also some good Youtube videos where he has talked extensively on the subject.

Dr. Walker is a sleep scientist & neurologist at University of California, Berkeley and sheds a lot of light on this misunderstood aspect of our life. We spend 1/3 of our life sleeping and Dr. Walker unravels the mysteries behind why its so important to get a good night’s rest. In fact, the book and talk are scary on how much damage you cause if you don’t get enough sleep (for e.g. studies have shown that there is direct correlation between lack of good sleep and some chronic illnesses & diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases & some types of cancer). It’s only in the last decade or so, we have finally started understanding more about sleep and I highly encourage reading or listening to Dr. Walker’s work.

Painting with broad brush strokes, there are three aspects that we need to focus on for a healthy living – diet, exercise & sleep. The three pillars play a huge part on our quality (and quantity) of life. We can easily measure, track & optimize diet & exercise, but sleep is difficult to evaluate without hard data since we simply have to go by a feeling in the morning. You can only improve what you measure & track. This is where the Ōura ring comes in.

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Annual Update – 2018 Review

Welcome to the annual 2018 update. This is part of  a series where I track our financial progress on a regular basis. I present three parts in this series: (i) Investment & Portfolio Update, (ii) Passive Income Update, and (iii) Goals Update.

1. Investment & Portfolio Update

2018 was quite an interesting year. The broad equity markets performed very well for the first 9 months of the year, but ended the year poorly with the S&P 500 returning -4.4% for 2018. Regular readers of this blog may be aware that I have been defensively positioned with lots of gold equities, utilities and almost no allocation to the tech sector. As a result, my portfolio did pretty well for the year. I finished the year with a return of +4.86%, a difference of 9.26% compared to S&P 500 returns.

Changes to our portfolio are summarized below.

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Books I read in 2H 2018

2018 turned out to be a great year for knowledge compounding by reading a wide variety of books. I took a conscientious decision in 2017 to quit some social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and whittling away my overusage of Twitter. I still see a lot of value in Twitter, so I find it hard to quit completely — especially since I get to connect with some brilliant people and have/follow interesting ideas and conversations in an easily digestable format.

In addition to quitting social media, I made a decision to reduce my consumption of news. Most of today’s news – be it financial media, political media etc is nothing but drivel that generates excessive noise, and I wanted to get rid of that from my life.  These little changes opened up so much time; allowing me to do more of what I wanted to do for the past few years: read more books.

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Books I read in 1H 2018

2018 turned out to be a great year for knowledge building by reading a wide variety of books. I took a conscientious decision in 2017 to quit some social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and whittling away overusage of Twitter. I still see a lot of value in Twitter, so I find it hard to quit completely — especially since I get to connect with some brilliant people and have/follow interesting ideas and conversations in an easily digestable format.

In addition to quitting social media, I made a decision to reduce my consumption of news. Most of today’s news – be it financial media, political media etc is nothing but drivel that generates excessive noise in my mind, and I wanted to get rid of that from my head.  These little changes opened up so much time; allowing me to do more of what I wanted to do for the past few years: read more books.

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Investing Lessons Learned

There is an investing adage: “You either learn a lesson or make a profit; never both”. I have found this to be true for a better part of my investing years, but as I gain more experience, I am trying to reflect and learn lessons from all my trades – from both winners and losers.

This bull market in stocks has been ongoing for a decade and most investors have forgotten what it is like to lose money and come to witness heart-stopping moments when you suddenly see your envisioned future disappear. I first started  investing in individual stocks in 2008, just before the Global Financial Crisis and that was a great teacher. I try to remember the lessons I learned back then and continue to learn new ones everyday. Over the last couple of years, I decided to move a big portion of my portfolio into the precious metals and mining sector as I saw more value and the sector was hated by many. My reasoning is fairly simple: when the markets crash (and they will), most investors will seek safe havens, and there is no better safe haven than gold. There are a few other reasons, but that is the big one.

Over the last few quarters, I have been finding so many interesting prospects for investing in the sector, that I have overshot my initial target. The sector now makes 1/2 of my overall investing portfolio. Even with a few sales over the last few months, I have been hovering close to the 50% mark due to good returns. And the bull market in gold/silver mining stocks is just getting started!

While I look over the overall portfolio composition, I am being reminded of a lot of investing lessons from each trade. So, I decided that I will share some of these thoughts (including some random observations) here. Hopefully you will find the thoughts valuable & interesting.

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