Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

Upcoming BIGScribe Financial Bloggers Moot

This coming week, a select group of extremely elite and exclusive financial bloggers will be meeting up for a friendly gathering. Over the months leading to this event, I have been trying to sell the idea of a financial blogger’s “Unconference” or TEDx like conference to the directors of Bigscribe. I can’t really say that I have been successful, because it is quite a counter-intuitive idea. Why would financial bloggers, generally wonky introverts, be willing to speak for about 5 min to 10 min on one investment idea for almost negligible pay? The resulting event would also lack a...

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Can you be financially independent and be a loser at the time ?

Personal Finance is to Finance the same way English Literature is to the English Language. While financial problems may be resolved by mathematical formulas or a backtesting exercise, there are many ways to interpret problems in Personal Finance. Some might be right and some might be wrong but most are somewhere in between.   I always find value in interpreting someone’s situation in a novel or unexpected way, because let’s face it, looking at it from many points of view is probably better than just looking at it from one. In English Literature, I’d like to give a D7...

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Before Happiness #4 : Increase Signal to Noise Ratio

Ok, managed to squeeze in some time to post on this blog. Exam preps are really insane this week. This section of the book is the hardest to achieve for me because I take on a lot of information sources and, combining my blogging hobby with my legal career switch, I am almost always swamped with information or crazy ideas. a) Identify the signal from the noise Noise is unusable, untimely, hypothetical and distracting. I consider The Independent a website dedicated to noise. Otherwise, I struggle with this section a lot because the book explicitly says that a lot...

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After Action Review : Supercharge your REITS investments.

Ok, as I am preparing for my bar exams next week, I would only start writing about yesterday’s session only after I am done with all my revision work today. Here are some points of interest from last night’s “non-debate” between myself and Teck Leng : a) The lack of real debate last night. The event was promoted somewhat as a debate between an ETF-driven approach versus a DIY approach to REITs investing. When we did the event on the ground, Teck Leng and I probably had much more points in common than actual disagreements. This is what happens...

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Before Happiness #3 : Goal Accelerators

The third section of the book is also the most practical component of the written work because it summarises in one chapter what most motivational books would take entire volumes to do. Tips offered in this chapter are useful and backed by heavy-duty research. If you can practice this on a daily basis, you would save thousands of dollars on motivational seminars and get ahead much further in life than your peers.   The first strategy is to get as close to your target at the earliest opportunity. Once people perceive that they are closer to their goal, they...

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Before Happiness #2 : Mental Cartography

[ I am slowing down my blogging as I am 2 weeks away from my Bar Exams. It is quite harrowing as we have to complete 8 papers within 4 days. It will be a struggle to have one update a week with an exception made when I complete my next talk with BIGScribe. ] The mental cartography component of this book also composes of three strategies. First, you need to find your true meaning markers which is just another way of figuring out what your goal are in life. In my own example, a lot of engineers start...

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The past is not dead; it is not even past.

[ The title of this post is actually Q1 of this year’s AO level General Paper. It has been long time since I have written a GP essay so it’s high time that do one given that I am also preparing for the Bar Exams.  ] The past is not dead; it is not even past. The past is persistent. It shall forevermore, be embedded in the present. It will always influence the future. This is not merely  a metaphysical assertion for if you, dear marker, have a case of herpes. You should know this fact very well. The...

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Before Happiness #1 : Choosing the most valuable reality

The first skill in the book Before Happiness by Shawn Achor is the skill of choosing the most valuable reality. This skill is broken down into three specific strategies. The first strategy is to understand that there are many alternative realities you can have. The second is to keep shifting your vantage point so that you generate alternative realities. The final strategy is to pick the most valuable strategy. This is useful in finance. Many academics adopt the reality that markets are efficient and there is indeed a lot of academic literature that reinforce the efficient markets hypothesis. This...

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New Series : Before Happiness by Shawn Achor

Starting tomorrow, I will start talking about this book called Before Happiness by Shawn Achor. The last series of articles on Efficiently Inefficient was rather complicated and, as a result, attracted attention from fewer (but more hardcore) readers. I thought it might be appropriate to not just shift to a lower gear and discuss issues which are a lot more accessible to readers of this blog but to also try to interpret Shawn’s ideas from the perspective of someone who is trying to seek financial independence. After all, I’m quite sure that the freedom to pick and choose what...

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Titles Culture : A Demon of our own Design.

I think it’s going to be quite vogue to talk about “Titles Culture” in Singapore today. “Titles Culture” happens when Singapore yuppies get together. The first thing they try to probe are the schools that you have attended. In this other article on Today, this is repositioned as an act of probing for weaknesses. Like many things about Singapore society, it’s easy to point out our problems and then try to appeal towards a “mindset” change. This always sets off alarm bells for me because it smacks of not really trying to solve the problem at all. Mindsets will...

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Next BIGSCRIBE Talk #2 : The fear of leverage.

I was supposed to be pushing for my next talk but ticket sales picked up over the weekend and we’re down to almost single digits worth of tickets left. If you have not bought your tickets, this is your last chance. Click here. As I’m reading Andrew W Lo’s Adaptive Market, I will begin this post by talking about an mental experiment that some of you might be familiar with. Which pay-off would you choose ? Would you prefer a $240,000 pay-off with 100% certainty or a 50% chance of making $500,000 ? Intuitively speaking, most readers will choose...

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Next BIGSCRIBE Talk : Getting more from REITS workshop.

My next talk will be held on 22nd November 2017 at Raffles City Tower at 7.30pm. To buy the tickets, please follow this link. My next talk is going be highly dangerous but exciting. So right now, I am putting enough disclaimers onto my slides. The first part of my talk would be updating my findings when I was tweaking a REITs portfolio to create a reasonably diversified mix that can backtests over 12+% for the past 10 years. Previous attendees if my talks might wish to see how a refined strategy looks like. Ordinarily, the first half of...

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Efficiently Inefficient #14 : Arbitrage

The final section of the book discusses arbitrage. The formal definition of arbitrage is the achievement of guaranteed profits by simultaneously buying low and selling high. In practice, a guarantee is almost impossible.  Traders buy and sell securities that are almost the same to achieve a profit, sometimes incurring massive losses when their trades fail to diverge. Arbitrage is too mathematical for a retail investor blog. I will just briefly describe the sub-sections of this book under the Arbitrage trading section : a) Fixed Income Arbitrage Fixed income arbitrage covers the buying and selling of bonds of make a...

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The Origin Story of Growing Your Tree of Prosperity

[ I wanted to share this story because I just read Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle. Guillebeau was never really an author that I respected in the past, his earlier works glorified financial independence a little too much and reminded me of MLM programs and the kind of rotten insurance agents that I troll on a regular basis on this blog. His latest book, however, was extremely useful and highly accessible. The stuff he brought to the table was quite intuitive and often based on common sense, but he had a lot of interesting examples from folks who managed a side...

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Cutting through the bullshit when assessing investing stories.

I certainly did not like Narrative and Numbers : The Value of Stories in Business by Aswath Damodaran because it takes a while for his framework to sink in and become monetizable for local investors. In fact, upon closer reading,  the book is actually solid evidence that narratives can be quite dangerous for investors as even experts don’t have a clue and have to run with multiple assumptions. Nevertheless, Damodaran is open-minded to criticism and a master of his art and possibly the best guy to ask when assessing companies with no credible cash-flow. Ok…About narratives… why do we...

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