Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

The Art of the Good Life #52 : Inner success

You can achieve inner success by concentrating on what you can control and influence and ignoring anything that we can’t. Essentially it means controlling our inputs and not our outputs. If you can do this consistently, you can attain ataraxia – tranquility of the soul. External events that are out of control cannot really affect your inner state of being. This I can accept. The entire basis of FIRE and FU Money is to employ an unnaturally high savings rate at the present so that one can be inured to events like illness and retrenchment in the future. Dividends...

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The Art of the Good Life #51 : In Praise of Modesty

To have a good life, you need to be modest. This chapter provides three reasons to do so. The first reason is that Self-Importance is very tiring because you need to broadcast to the world how awesome you are 24×7. Influencers have to do it. Over the years, the successful financial bloggers we see today ar those who can attract as many eye-balls as they can. The second reason is self-serving bias. I don’t really like the example in the book because it says that self-importance causes some investors to buy sexy companies that improve their self image. I...

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How did you spend your SG Bonus ?

A number of friends on FB were upset to know that $300 arrived in my bank account this week because of SG Bonus 2018. I got $300 because I was still a student and Part B candidate in 2017. Regardless of how you feel about investors maxing out the SG government bonus, many of us dividends investors already have $300 extra in the bank. I took one step further than many guys who got $300. I converted it to $906 Malaysian Ringgit and spent a day in Johor Bahru. My relatives put me up in a nice Bed and...

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The problem of Financial Pornography

You encounter quite a bit of financial pornography once you are engaged with folks in the fund management industry. Imagine how hard it would be to peddle funds that return 7% a year. I can imagine the pressure for folks in the financial industry to tout returns north of 20%. I do my level best to avoid engaging in financial pornography but it’s not as easy as it sounds once you start to conduct some investment training of your own. In my latest class, one of my strategies “unfortunately” backtested 21% returns with a semi-variance of 10%. In this...

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Just completed a full house Retirement MasterClass

I think the best way to learn about investing and finance is not to attend my Early Retirement Masterclass. The best wat to learn about personal finance and early retirement is to teach my Early Retirement Masterclass. As such, beyond the financial aspect of being a trainer, I can say very frankly that I probably learnt the most from my students. This time, I had a full-house with 50 pax. The thing about having a large class is that it is actually easier to project your energy when class is going on, but for some strange reason the tiredness kicks...

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The Art of the Good Life #50 : Sturgeon’s Law

Ted Sturgeon was a sci-fi author who claims that “90% of everything is crap” and this chapter proposes that the same applies for the stock market. This is useful when you decide what kind of media to indulge in. 90% of all fiction is crap. 90% of all Netflix shows are crap. In a moment of self-reflection, perhaps 90% of investment training is crap so I need to constantly improve my training slides. While preparing stock screens for this weekend’s class to demonstrate this concept, I wanted to see how many stocks fall into this category in SGX :...

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How to graduate more engineers ?

Singapore probably regrets mistreating technical professionals. You can read all about it here. Just like the humanities and liberal arts professors in the US who now have to explain why their students can’t get decent jobs or pay, I think engineering professors and policy makers are not getting the idea of becoming an engineer right. I remember my professors doing everything they can to counter the fact that being an engineer is uncool. On hindsight, I think their efforts only makes things worse. To truly understand why we are not getting enough engineers, I think we need to look...

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Dark Horse – A new approach to personal development.

Seedly approached me give a talk to a crowd of Millenials who are interested in personal finance a couple of weeks ago and I agreed to their request. I told them that I will take the next few weeks to come up with a topic. At the personal level, I wanted to give a bespoke presentation because my current previews tend to be slanted toward mid-career professionals and I wanted to really start thinking about how to address the needs of someone who has been working for less than 5 years. A more concrete outline for a presentation is...

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The Art of the Good Life #49 : Managing Expectations

To manage expectations, you need to organise your thoughts into three categories. The first category is something that “you must have”.  This is an absolute necessity. On hindsight, one of my absolute necessities is to complete my legal training. This means going through a lengthy practice training and skipping out on a fairly decent job offer. Positioning something as a necessity can be extremely limiting. Only time will tell whether I made a right move in insisting that I be called to the Bar before moving on. For readers, I strongly suggest you keep these limitations to a bare...

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What have I been spending on ?

Having lived on dividend income for the past 4 years, my household is relieved to have earned income flowing in again. I am personally quite happy, but mainly for the “perverse” reason that I will be paying income taxes again next year. The big question for financially independent folks who find a way towards earned income again is what should a person do with it ? My hobbies are relatively cheap. I buy tabletop RPG PDF books and then read I them like a book of Statutes. I have relatively little wants and my household spending is as lean...

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The Art of the Good Life #48 : The Secretary’s Problem.

I’ve written about the Secretary’s Problem before. Suppose you are in the look-out for a piece of real estate. Different gurus have a different approach towards buying the house, but the most optimal solution is to first determine when you will need to move into your new house and then spend about 37% of that time looking at homes without committing to any purchase. The purpose of this search phase is to actually get acquainted with the range of properties that are on sale and give you a better idea of your own personal preferences. So if you have...

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CPF Life Necromancy

We don’t really know how long we will live although the projection is currently around 85 years. Of our remaining years, we’re not even sure if these years are spent living healthy lives. Quite a decent number of years may be spent in a hospital in a zombie-like state. So building on the previous articles on 1M65 idea, a question arises as to whether we are confident that we can actually get back that $500,000 that we have so painstakingly saved in our CPF program. In my opinion, if you want to get to experience your CPF savings, you...

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The Art of the Good Life #47 : Making Friends with Weirdos.

This is a chapter that resonates with me because I have considered myself as an outcast and weirdo. I grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons which was possibly the geekiest hobby you can have in the 1980s. I also spent the greater part of my life as an Internet Troll on YPAP BBS. Just last week, I met up with an old secondary school classmate and we large spoke about how alienated and out of touch we were with our classmates. The chapter concludes that a weirdoes life is not a good one, although they belonged to the group...

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A gentle critique of Loo Cheng Chuan’s 1M65 idea.

Everything I do with my finances is based on my own readings and self-study. I never had a mentor or a Sifu when it came to money. In similar vein, I seldom attend financial talks unless I have to give a talk myself and get to listen to other speakers on that day. Very recently, one of my ex-NS buddies contacted me after reading about commentary at Channel News Asia and as it turns out, he now works with the Institute of Financial Literacy so he sent me an invite for a free lunch. During that event, I was...

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