Author: 35 is the defining age

Investment Banking in Bear Markets

A couple days ago, amidst the rout in the global stock markets that have been plaguing us through the summer, one of the Managing Directors walked around the banking floor, and announced: “This is it boys, the summer of 2008 is repeating itself. Embrace the fun times, for you wouldn’t know how long it lasts”. For the uninitiated, 2008 saw the closing down of bulge bracket investment banks Bear Stearns (bought over by JP Morgan) and Lehman Brothers as global markets were brought to their knees. Countless bankers were laid off in several rounds across the industry globally as the contagion...

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What does it mean to possess the "pioneering" spirit?

This year’s NDP was a remarkable and momentus event. With Singapore celebrating its 50th year of independence, all stops and expense caps were lifted, and the festivities were launched in full flow.  The propaganda machine was cranking overtime, with celebrations (rightly so, in my humble opinion) focused on the development and progress of our island nation since its humble inception, the efforts of the pioneer generation in establishing and contributing to Singapore’s progress. Much has been said about the spirit of the pioneer generation, and how it has enabled Singapore to notch its laudable achievements in a relatively short...

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Thoughts on the SAF’s new IPPT system

Recently I had the “privilege”, given forth to me as a Singaporean son, of undertaking my yearly pilgrimage to a SAF fitness conditioning centre to test my physical mettle in the mandatory individual proficiency fitness test. Now this test has gone through a major revamp over the last 12 months. It used to comprise of four static stations plus a 2.4km run. Four static stations being pull ups, sit ups, shuttle run and a standing jump. Now it’s just sit ups, pull ups, and a 2.4km run. The change was widely applauded by the mainstream media as being realistic,...

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Is [Facebook] the new TV?

I’ve grown to become aware that I do spend a substantial amount of my time daily checking in on various social media platform. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it, I probably have it. When reality gets dull, one could always use a distraction no? When work piles up, what better antidote than to perform a quick swipe down to refresh the Facebook news feed, or check out the latest Instagram posts? You’ll get an immediate rush of endorphins to the brain as the latest, bestest and sweetest posts come up. Yay!   In the age of super connectivity, one...

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Managing Oneself

If you’re not motivated by status / power / glamour like myself, you’ll soon come to realise that all jobs suck, with some jobs sucking more than others. So the best job to do is one that pays you the most money on an expended effort basis, in order for you to maximise your savings rate, invest your money wisely and get to living life asap. The key to being able to get to a position where you can kiss your job goodbye is simply to, as trading parlance goes, “keep your seat”. You want to be there to...

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Joseph Schooling – His unquantifiable achievements

I believe in the use of role models in society. Having someone you’re able to look up to, an inspiring individual who has paved the way and shown that what he has achieved, is a possibility. Sports would be one facet of modern society that provides for the sustainable deployment of role models. Sporting achievements has always been a mainstay in society and typically transcends most geopolitical issues. So to have a 20 year old Joseph Schooling achieve what he did over the last week or so provides inspirational goodness on a platter not only for Singaporeans, but for...

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The Sanctity of Productivity

Productivity. A buzzword that has been instilled in all Singaporeans since nursery. You probably see this word used more often than a public bicycle gets taken for a ride, and definitely more daily than a KTV hostess can play “butterfly” on a nightly basis. Through various outlets, we have been told to be more productive, to work harder, better, faster and stronger in all facets of life, be it at home, at work, on your relationships, on yourself, which might have provided the spark of inspiration for that awesome Kanye West and Daft Punk remix of “Stronger”. In all...

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I could flip the bird and "retire" now, but…

(This is going to be a long post. I did think quite a bit over whether I should actually do a post on this, given this essentially is a first world problem, but I figured articulation of my thoughts might prove helpful to myself and it might be useful to folks who are embarking on the FIRE path in realising some of the challenges and downsides FIRE might yield.   Oh yes by the way it’s my blog (like it’s my life). So please hit “back” if a whimper of disgust has arisen in your soul. I don’t really care. Or...

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Thoughts on leading a template life

Have you ever thought about how your life is panning out and developing? If you have, you’re most likely at the stage of bridging towards the self actualization phase under Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is what I would like to term as a first world problem. The truth is being able to actually entertain such thoughts on a regular basis means you actually are in a pretty decent position right now. You have the basic necessities fulfilled and are looking towards self fulfillment and really building a life worth living. I met a couple of banker friends for...

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Thoughts on blogs and insurance

Have been pretty busy over the last couple of weeks traveling for business. Thank goodness for this long weekend. Counting thy blessings. Came across a blog called LivingAFI which I would rank as one of the top three financial freedom blogs that I’ve come across. Have been quite a fervent reader of the The Financial Samurai and Early Retirement Extreme since commencing my “career”. The Financial Samurai feels very relatable as we basically come from the same industry and Early Retirement Extreme seems like a hardcore straight out logical thinking fellow who’s pretty impressive -I could never do what he has done to get...

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Thinking of "investing" in the next IPO?

Back when the markets were going hot in 2006 – 2007, just before the Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns collapse took centre stage, the common water cooler topic was whether you managed to get allotments for shares in the latest IPO on the SGX. It seemed like the gravy train was running full speed ahead on wards to nirvana for retail investors. Not a bad move isn’t it, getting some allotments and then selling onto the market, after all in a red hot market the only way is up up and away. It certainly was, till the music stopped...

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Decluttering for the next chapter

Spent pretty much the last two weeks tidying up my life and gosh I haven’t felt so at peace with myself in awhile. On the physical side of things, I’ve cut out the usual weekend alcohol after falling ill this week and my mind is starting to feel more lucid and aware instead of the post-week numbness that it usually entertains as a result of a combination of draggy crap it’s been saddled through work together with pints of Guinness or drams of whiskey. Have also cleared up the room and literally thrown out bags of trash, cleared out...

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Thoughts on Physical Training

One of my biggest fears is the wasting away of my body, and along in that, the wasting of my mind as I continue to plod along the path in search of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.We’ve all heard stories of fellow schoolmates who were in their prime, the most outstanding and natural sportsmen during our teenage years. Envied by the boys in the compound for their sporting abilities and idolized by the girls from the nearby schools for mainly, their developing bodies (at least on a subconscious level). Well, I’ve never been an...

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Traveling – best life ever?

A commonly heard phrase – getting to travel on business is fun! Or not? Probably only the uninitiated would agree that business travel (at least in an investment banking context) is fun. See the sights, dine on the Company’s dime, jet-setter, real go-getter aye? I don’t think so… let’s set the record straight. Traveling for business is not the same as traveling for leisure, the kind that enables you to act as a flaneur in a foreign land, or as a caged up consumer riding in a human transport, stopping along the way to purchase souvenirs and gorge yourself...

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Making your first few years out of college count as a [Banker] (Part III)

Managing lifestyle inflation Perhaps this topic could have been tied into the subject of managing your personal finances, but I thought of taking this out for some much needed emphasis. Think back to when you were just a mere student. What made you happy and content? Hmmm maybe it’s unwise to frame this within an existential and philosophical structure. I guess the best way would be to focus on a certain material aspects for illustration. Let’s take food for example. Say, when I was 17 years old, having restaurant food for dinner would be considered luxurious and perhaps only...

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