Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

The Art of the Good Life #14 : Circle of Competence

The last chapter was easy to read because Fuck You money agrees with me so much. This week’s chapter is the opposite because it really exposes just how dumb my latest career moves are. The harsh truth is this  – Most of us have a really small circle of competence and this chapter reminds us that we should really just stick to it. If we know what we’re good at, we should just focus on it and build a career around our personal strengths. I think in the absence of passive income, this is something which I would have...

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The Art of the Good Life #13 : Fuck You Money

  Because this is a financial blog, I would say that this chapter is the only disappointing one so far. The author positions fuck-you money as having one year of living expenses so that you can say “Fuck You” to your asshole boss and then storm out of the office never to come back to a dysfunctional workplace.  What a horribly bad idea. In this age of tech disruption, some knowledge workers may be unemployed much longer than a year and this idea might only work in a welfare state. Alternatively, you can get an Uber license. A better...

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The Influence of Religion on Personal Finance

Today’s topic is going to be a teensy bit controversial, so I put up a picture of controversial person. Some other financial bloggers have commented that I am a Kong Hee like person when I give my talks, I am quite flattered by that remark. In fact, I followed Kong Hee even as an atheist when he talks about modern topics like postmodernism. There is something mesmerising about his speaking quality, something I was unable to experience even after spending 10 years with the Toastmasters movement. The working paper is entitled Randomizing Religion : The Impact of Protestant Evangelism...

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The Influence of Language on Personal Finance

This is the single most momentous event in Fantasy Literature with Legend of the Condor Heroes being successfully translated into English. Translation of this work is so difficult and thought to be previously impossible, even the Economist published a book review last week. I was never able to watch a complete series on this storyline so I was kept mostly in the dark when it comes to Jin Yong’s work, having only completed the Duke of Mount Deer series which starred a young Tony Leung Chiu Wai in the 1990s. Reading this in book form is epic. Imagine the...

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The Art of the Good Life #12 : The Things that you buy leave no trace

When an experiment is conducted where researchers ask participants about how much a recently bought object brings them happiness, it was found that an expensive high-end car brings more personal satisfaction than an average vehicle. However, when the same participants were asked about how they experienced their last trip, the price of the vehicle did not affect their experience. This chapter is really about two concepts that are commonly in the local financial blogosphere. The first concept is that when it comes to purchases, experiences always trump things. I have tried to explore various counterfactuals but I can not...

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Some quantitative characteristics of Cryptocurrency

The source of this article is the Cryptassets book by Burniske and Tatar. I also draw a lot of quantitative isights from Cryptocurrency : A New Investment Opportunity by David Lee, Li Guo and Yu Wang that is published on Vol 20 Number 3 of the Journal of Alternative Investments, this article from David Lee is possibly the most objective source of information for serious crypto investors that I can think of so far. Here are some of insights : a) A cryptocurrency index exists in the form of the CRIX index. The bulk of academic research is done...

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Six compelling reasons for cryptocurrency.

I’ve been delaying this article during the ramp up of cryptocurrencies but since the prices have sort of corrected and calmed down, it is time to look at cryptocurrencies without all that excitement from the bull market.. Fortunately, David Lee Kuo Chuen, the lecturer who taught me fund management more than a decade ago, is the invited editor for the latest Journal of Alternative Investments and articles in Volume 20 Number 3 seems to be a very objective look at this new asset class. The next few articles on this blog will be cryptocurrency related but, hopefully, hype free....

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Budget 2018 discussions mirrors our journey towards Financial Independence

On the whole, we’ve had a fantastic 2017, which was why Budget 2018 was not a punitive one even though it was a mid-term budget. The aftermath of the Budget is interesting because discussions about NIR returns mirror the internal discussions we have on our journey to financial independence. Ray Dalio in his book Principles has a very elegant way of describing what happens when someone becomes financially independent. There are two approaches to living life post financial independence : a) A certain portion of FI folks would want to Savor Life. b) And yet a substantial number of...

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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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