Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

More insights from attending real estate seminar previews

I’m not a saint. To become a good trainer I do attend previews from other trainers. When I do attend these previews, I have to with hold judgment on the content being taught and focus on the user experience of previews to figure out how I can raise my game. This creates a moral dilemma : There is a strong moral push to reveal my inner thoughts on what these seminars teach – I’m human too, I don’t like having my time wasted on seminar previews. On the other hand, I don’t want my training career to be built...

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Letter to Batch 5 of the Early Retirement Masterclass.

It’s been a hectic week and I have not been updating this blog. For the past two days I have been running Batch 5 of the Early Retirement Masterclass while my dad is still recovering in Yishun Community Hospital. At the end of class yesterday, I went to see my dad along with my own kids. We did not really much of a Father’s Day celebration but I am really glad that my dad saw my kids the first time after being hospitalised for so long. ( We have been videoconferencing in the past. ) This coming Wednesday, my...

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The Model Thinker #23 – Collective Action Models

Where situations involve a misalignment between self-interest and collective interest, we can use collective action models. In a collective model, individuals can choose to free rise or contribute. If every individual contributes, the sum of payoffs is maximised. An individual who free rides, get to keep a higher pay-off for themselves but the collective suffers. There are three models in this chapter : a) Public Goods. When it comes to public goods like paying for the environment or defence, contributions to the public good attain diminishing returns as more contributions are made but contribution to privates have a pay-off...

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Early Retirement as a Religious Experience

Mark Manson’s latest masterpiece Everything is F**cked is a work of a genius. It stylishly blends the latest insights in psychology with postmodern philosophy and written in a compellingly unique voice. This is a must read for fan of this blog. One of the cooler ideas in this book is on how to start a religion and it is this section of the book that resonated with me the most. Attaining Early Retirement and becoming Financially independent has always been to me a personal affair which I documented through my books at various stages of my journey. My earlier...

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The Model Thinker #22 – Models of Cooperation

Models of Cooperation can be used to allow us to think about the shenanigans in the insurance industry, but first let’s talk about how to shoehorn this model, originally based on the Prisoner’s Dilemma model, to describe the industry as se know it in Singapore. When a Financial Advisor cooperates, he basically decides to put personal ethics above his bottomline. He will engage with his clients fairly and sell what the client needs. To me, a FA who cooperates operates by the spirit of the engagement. He does not adhere to rules simply to meet compliance requirements. When a...

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What do they really teach you in Real Estate Seminars ?

For a trainer, I am actually pretty noob when it comes to attending other training seminars previews.But to improve on my own presentation style, I have started attending the previews from other course providers because there’s always room for improvement. Because of the embarrassment of getting noticed, I try to avoid investment seminars and focus on training seminars in other fields, so this week, I attended a real estate seminar and can’t help but feel that training courses in this domain may be based on a lot of dubious fundamentals. Without revealing the specific seminar I attended, I will...

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The Model Thinker #21 : Game Theory Models Times Three

This chapter is about game theory where models describe a situation of zero sum games. I don’t want to get into a discussion on zero sum games because they are more useful in a situation where you trade in derivatives or currency. Someone’s win has to come off from someone’s losses. This is the kind of game that I really hate getting into. Instead the addendum of the chapter talks about something more interesting which is the problem of identification. What causes people to take up a particular investment approach like value investing or quantitative investing ? The peer...

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First World Problems #2

I’m not really in a mood to blog this week so I’ll just keep today’s article short and sweet just to update everyone on my attempts to hire a domestic helper without a notice of assessment. a) Wild Goose chase to find out whether my dad already has a fixed deposit account. The week began with with me finding a fixed deposit statement with my dad’s name on this made in 2016 when we hired our previous maid, there would have been a possibility that we already have a fixed deposit account to get our next helper. So I...

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The Model Thinker #20 : Spatial and Hedonic Choice models

This article is a more detailed way to look at the statement that “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” What models exist to explain the value of a good ? Spatial attributes have no best value. One example of a spacial attribute is thickness of a slice of bread or the colour of a jacket. Preference depends on the individual. In the financial world, the optimal amount of the debt/equity ratio is around 30-40% and varies from industry to industry. Picking out stocks with the lowest or highest debt to equity ratio result in substandard...

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First World Problems

Sometimes I stir a lot of shit on weekends. The topics that blog readers get anxious about include topics on dating Singapore women, dissing Financial Advisors or delivering a nasty brutal lesson to Polytechnic students. Regardless of the negativity of the engagement, I get 2000+ views in one day. But sometimes, the world stirs throws some shit at me. In such a case, I should also share on this blog because we can learn something from the experience and I get to dissipate some Bad Kharma I accumulated from previous blog posts. My dad has currently been hospitalised for...

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What is your Return on Luck (ROL) ?

If you’ve been financially independent for a while, you will notice that the blogosphere and social media will be very eager to discount your financial success. You might be marked down on the Internet for the following : Coming from a rich family. Earning a salary above $120,000 a year. Being a scholarship recipient. Being single – with no wife and kids to affect your spending. Being born with a combination of intelligence and conscientiousness. (Blame Jordan Peterson) The laundry list expands with the millions in your bank account because folks want more reasons to explain why they cannot...

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The Model Thinker #19 : Theshold Models with Feedbacks

Sometimes it helps to go granular and model something as an agent instead of system dynamics models. So this means that instead of modelling a stock-market as having a number of value versus growth investors, we can model each investor as someone who will buy or sell a stock based on some threshold. The problem with modelling each investor as an agent is that we run into other problems. Some investors will buy a stock when it goes up, making the stock go up even higher. This is an example whereby an agent produces positive feedback loops. Other investors...

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What I learned from observing Financial Advisors

In every preview, my colleagues are always able to spot who the Financial Advisor is in a room full of potential students for my course. This week one subject has his hair combed backwards, his watch looked like a Patek Phillipe ( although it seems out of place as he looked in his early 30s. ) and he wore a prominent Coach bag. To Financial Advisors, my previews can be a nasty trap that can make them feel depressed for weeks. Within the first 10 minutes, I would ask the class to participate in answering some questions and you...

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The Model Thinker #18 : Systems Dynamics Models.

Systems Dynamics models are so useful that I have decided to come up with my own spin on why it is so powerful. A systems dynamics model allows an engineer to model feedback loops and gain a holistic understanding of now a system works. This frame work is sufficiently flexible such that it can apply to any domain. Here is how I intend to use this framework to teach the fundamentals of personal finance to my students. The diagram above summarises our financial lives. Upon first inspection, our monthly cash flow is influenced by our salary from work which...

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Why Singapore Women scare Frugal Millenial Guys.

This week I had an interesting chat with some Millenials on their fears. Some of these guys are familiar with my story and they are aware that when I was much younger, I transferred my CPF-OA to CPF-SA because I was afraid that a future Gen-X spouse would over-leverage and end up with me me getting stuck with a home that is too luxurious for my taste. All this while, I felt that my fears are those of a bygone era. I always thought that Gen Y women are less aggressive than their Gen X counterparts who had a...

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