Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

The Art of the Good Life #11 : The Focusing Illusion

Suppose you had a really bad day in the office. Meetings were extremely long and dwelled on unimportant matters. Your boss is also giving grief once again over small matters like the formatting of your powerpoint presentation. After a tough day at work, you managed to crawl out of the office to attend a financial talk and the guru then paints you a wonderful picture about financial independence. The guru, a master of failure pornography, first tells you a story of his life, how he never did well in school, how he was a dropout from the education system,...

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Personal Update – Happy Chinese New Year of the Dogg !

I had an inkling that the Year of the Earth Dog is going to be a fairly good year for me. Based on the stem and branch Chinese horoscope system. Earth has always been an element that I am deficient in. And a Feng Shui master hired by my boss confirms that I will have a great 2018. Of course, 2018 is a culmination of years of hard work as I try to enter into a completely new industry. Here’s a quick update : a) Legal Training Contract I have spent 2 months on my training contract working on...

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Happy Valentine’s Day !

I try to come up with something every Valentine’s Day but this year I have said everything I wanted to say so I was about to skip it until I read something really interesting about marriage and divorce in Daniel Pink’s When. So here’s something for you to think about this Valentine’s Day. a) It’s not a good idea to get married if you are too young or two old. If you marry at 25 years old, you are 11% less likely to divorce than if you were to get married at 24. Divorce rates drop as people marry...

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The Art of the Good Life #10 : The Five Second No.

Human beings have evolved to cooperate with each other which is why our dominant rule of thumb is the rule of tit for tat. We are wired to cooperate and help a fellow human being unless that other human being refuses to cooperate with us. In such a case, we retaliate. Tit for tat is a relatively good strategy and can be said to be optimal in some strategy games. But there is dark side to employing this strategy. We have developed a habit of saying “yes” to a request without really assessing the opportunity cost of agreeing to do...

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AAR : Profiting from Macroeconomic Trend Shifts

We held a seminar on Macroeconomic Trend Shifts last Thursday night. I will leave it to the other bloggers Xeo Lye and Elvin Liang to talk about their respective sections. As for me, I will just provide a short review of my segment. My official role for the day is MC. This is an unpaid role I volunteered for because I felt that I can develop a new kind of competency and contribute to BIGScribe. I also wanted to attend the other talks for free.  Also, the directors have, in the past, commented that I’m a very “Kong Hee”...

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The Art of the Good Life #9 : The Authenticity Trap

Suppose you and a Japanese food connoisseur friend go to new restaurant and order a bowl of Ramen. When the Ramen arrives, your friend is aghast ! There are fishballs in his ramen ! He says that the ramen is not authentic because fishballs are not part of Japanese cuisine. In fact, your friend declares that bowl of ramen as Chinese food and unworthy of his meticulously curated Japanese food tasting tastebuds. A few days later, you check out the Wikipedia entry on Japanese Ramen and you find out that Japanese noodles originate from China. So is the fishball-laden...

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Brutal truths about non-elite JC education.

First of all, my heart goes out to the students and alumni of the JCs which got merged. Years of history were flushed down the drain when the authorities decided to make it happen. What made me particularly furious is that non-elite JC students were made to memorise answers from top JC students because educators do not have the confidence that they can come up with arguments and ideas of their own. This was unheard of during my time. The unPC reason for this merger is that the JCs were not elite enough. As much as we hate to...

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[ Next BIGSCRIBE Event] Profiting from Macroeconomic Trend Shifts

My next gig will be on 8th February. However, this time things are going to be slightly different for BIGScribe, I will not be speaking but I will be emceeing the event. You can get more details on the events here : Profiting From Macroeconomic Trends Shift As I get to develop a new skill in emceeing an event, I will not just be introducing the speakers and wishing all participants a safe journey home. Instead, one of things I will be doing is to build a framework around the two speeches and address questions that investors would want...

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The Art of the Good Life #8 : The Introspection Illusion

The introspection illusion means that you should never let your emotions guide you because our emotions are fluid. Also you cannot contemplate your way towards a coherent meaning of life. Anotherwords, you need to take some action and stir some shit to gain some worldly wisdom. This is especially so in trading where being swept up by the emotions of the crowds is the surest way to court financial disaster. While we should not allow emotions to dictate us at work, being too flaky can also ruin play. Some folks I know are always chasing the latest fad in...

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Improving your life satisfaction with more "cash on hand"

There is a brief report entitled How your bank balance buys happiness: The Importance of “Cash on Hand” to Life Satisfaction by Ruberton, Gladstone and Lyubomirsky was so important that I paid $11.95 to gain access to the PDF and possibly violated my resolution not to buy books in the month of January. This paper revises what we previously know about emergency savings. The conventional advice from financial books and bloggers is to hold 6 months worth of spending as emergency expenses. Other than ensuring that you may be able to survive for six months without a job, no...

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Why are female experts on personal finance so fierce ?

[ I need to make a disclaimer at this stage, while it might seem that person we are referring to is Budget Babe, the conversation is not triggered by her. So don’t go trolling her because you read this article ! ] This started as a personal conversation between a very popular finance blogger ( who will never be named here ) and myself.  He suddenly asked me “How come they are so fierce?” referring to the new wave of Millenial women who are emerging as experts in personal finance and cryptocurrency. At that moment, I was unable to...

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Think twice before you marry the financially independent guy.

[ Kyith Ng of Investment Moats requested a fantasy themed picture to represent a financially independent person. I think a D&D Troll represents such a person best because our finances regenerate over time making us fairly resilient in a fight against adventurers. Of course, you can burn our capital away to stop that regeneration. ] The first time I was exposed to this problem was years ago when I heard about an account of why a girl turned down a guy after one date. From the person who recounted the story, she and the guy had one date and...

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Properties of an ideal investment across history.

Sometimes lessons about money can be picked up from some of the most shameful moments of human history. One of the hardest chapters to read in this book was about slavery. Historical records actually showed what happened at a slave auction. A 27 year old prime cotton planter could be sold for $1200. His wife $900 and young children sold for $200 because they are only productive when they reached adulthood. Slavers were wise and would not allow a slave family to be split up via an auction, but they were less kind to couples who are courting or...

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The Art of the Good Life #6 : Negative thinking

By negative thinking, we mean to live our lives thinking about minimising the negatives rather than maximising the positives. This makes a lot of sense because we can’t really agree on the positive things we should do to achieve optimal success and happiness. Does taking multi-vitamins work? How much sex is ideal ? Should I diet or exercise to lose weight ? But we do know what’s objectively bad for us – drugs, alcohol and char kway teow. So instead of doing the right things, some people can do very well simply by avoiding the doing of bad things....

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What is a "Civet Cat" friend ?

So it’s been about 2 weeks of work. I’m getting a lot of very interesting exposure and personal growth from the problems I face at work. Naturally, these problems are very human and is therefore something most engineers have never faced before.   Over the next six months, I will be trying to distill the essence of what I am learning into generalised principles because I am forbidden to talk too much about the actual work that I do. One thing I can share is that I grapple with issues faced by very rich and very unhappy people, some...

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