Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

The Shallow Search for Happiness.

I’m in the middle of my term ‘break’ in which I had to do even more work than a normal week at school. Test preparations and written papers took up almost half of it. Now I’m taking a short break to update this blog as I think I’ve done enough preparation work and will let fate decide what happens in tomorrow’s online test. This is the first time I’m getting a test where I have no idea what is to be tested. I was probably more prepared for my blood test this month which actually went really well. Turns...

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What tools in the Arts and Law can be used by an investor ?

After Hell week, my class started getting bombarded by essays and more written work so I am unable to put up more postings for quite a while but today is a good day, I just finished a 2,500 draft of an essay I was supposed to submit in November so it puts me ahead, to, well… do more advanced work for my classes. One of the ideas I was obsessed with that ideas are “weaponizeable”. Ideas from disparate fields can be integrated together to solve tough problems within a domain and even provide insight to practical problems in daily...

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What would I do if a start-up exit made me a multi-millionaire ?

Of recent interest is that we are starting to hear about successful start-up exits in Singapore. I really enjoyed reading about the interviews with these successful entrepreneurs so I am writing this speculative piece. I think Tech is very much on the rise here and with more talent becoming engineers, we could be hearing about a lot more success stories in the future. Of course, being a small-time finance author and university student, I don’t expect a real start-up multi-millionaire to consult me, I’m merely speculating as to what would I do if I struck such a large jackpot,...

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September 2014 Update : From Retiree to Law Student.

I’ve just survived three weeks of law school, just sharing a personal update to keep in touch with readers. a) Drowning in legal cases. Right now, the largest part of my my life is tackling legal cases. In SMU, merely reading up on cases and getting a general gist of it is not enough. As we can be called upon to introduce the cases on the fly, we will need to be able to demonstrate that we understand the cases well, so reading off text is not a good idea. A large part of my current life is figuring...

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Beyond second skilling…

Thought I should share with everyone my view on NTUC PME’s drive to promote second skilling amongst PMEs in Singapore. Second-skilling is a straight forward concept. It encourages Singaporeans to develop hobbies which can be monetized. A manager in manufacturing plant can develop a hobby in photography and eventually gains a degree of protection against job loss when he starts taking professional photographs. In the absence of actual data of folks monetizing their interests, I would like to share my personal experience. My biggest success with second-skilling came with teaching myself how to invest. Investing is a great secondary...

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Pushing the Delay of Gratification to its logical extreme.

I’ll start with a personal update. I’m almost with my first week of school in SMU’s Doctor of Jurisprudence or JD program. This is, by far, the hardest course I’ve ever taken in my life considering that I have done NUS engineering school, NUS’s Masters in Applied Finance and passed all three CFA exams. Prior to the start of the semester, we would have already completed reading about 30 cases, done two online quizzes, and even attempted to tackle a few problems. SMU places a large emphasis on classroom participation, this means that going to a seminar with a...

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The Problem of Envy.

A key concept which I should have explored more in my books is the Problem of Envy. A friend recently shared a personal problem with me. He has a very successful ex-classmate who works in Oil & Gas who enjoys rubbing his success in my friend’s face. I think this is a common problem in Singapore: It is not our absolute wealth that determines our life satisfaction, but our wealth relative to the folks around us. As our education system does not really teach us Philosophy, we fall prey to the notion that being Singaporean is, in essence, waging...

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Decision making in postgraduate education.

Unlike the past, when a degree is required to get ahead, a lot of professionals are faced with the question on what kind of post-graduate qualifications to obtain. As I’ve gone through this process twice, here’s my two cents worth based on what I’ve gone through : i)  CFA or MBA ? An MBA is especially attractive if you have only 2 years of experience in the working world. For technical professionals, am MBA gives you the chance to make another attempt at a fresh career as a management associate if you dislike engineering or do not see yourself...

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Calm before the Storm – Countdown to formal classes.

Ok, just because I stop updating my retirement does not mean that this blog is dead. I will keep posting but my new academic life will undeniably affect this blog. Here is what’s going on in my life : Yesterday I got my matriculation card, this grants me full access to university facilities. My first priorities are to ensure that my lifestyle can comfortably match an undergraduate in SMU. This means getting a really awesome transport concession at $85 and discounted Kopitiam card to pay for future meals as my number one priority. Subsequently, I will move my exercise...

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Last Retirement Post !

It’s been 7 months since I retired from active work. This is my last update on my mini-retirement because it will be all over next Monday. Next week, I will be going over to SMU to get my matriculation card, and for the next three years I will be busy getting Law qualification. Here is my update : a) Financial Performance was relatively good. Even if you account for the Argentinian default and 7th month, my portfolio did fairly ok, I paid off one semester of fees of $17k+ and the capital gains made up for it within the...

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Hedgehog or the Fox ?

If you are a hedgehog, you know one thing really well. If you are a fox, you know many little things.This question has many many applications in the area of career management, after you stabilize career, do you take steps to specialize in something or do you pick up more skills as a generalist ? I asked this question on FB and observed that most tech professionals would rather be a hedgehogs. This makes sense since hedgehogs who specialize in one platform can make a lot of money out of it. The 1990s and 2000s IT landscape belonged to...

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Using models to explain life, success and the assholes around you.

This article might be a little “cheem” since I have just completed all 20 lectures of the Model Thinking course conducted by the University of Michigan, I think that of all the courses taught, this is probably the best one so far. The central thesis of this lesson is that when it comes to prediction, we are much better having more models so that we have more tools to explain a certain phenomenon. This article demonstrates a model  known as Colonel Blotto. This simple model had a deep impact on the way I think. Imagine you have 100 unit...

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When Insurance Agents attack…

Sometimes, when I get a great day, a friend who believes in insurance writes a passionate message to me to take issue with my ideas on insurance planning. This inevitably strengthens my position, since insurance agents seldom want to talk to me anymore, it updates me on their various tactics which I share with there readers. Let me summarize my idea on insurance. I believe in “Buy term and Invest the Rest”. This means not only maxing up your term life insurance, it means saving up what you would have spent on insurance on an investment portfolio of your...

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Some change in my thoughts regarding the $100,000 challenge.

There has been some calls to poll my opinion on what should someone do with $100,000. There has also been queries as to whether some of the things I wrote on Growing Your Tree of Prosperity is still valid with the market today. Growing Your Tree of Prosperity is a lot more than just about investing in unit trusts, it puts readers in their first attempt to pony up $100,000 – something which is attainable by almost anyone. It’s special to me as it also captured some issues which bothered me 9 years ago. These days, I find that...

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Should I invest in my excess cash into my start-up or use it build up my stock portfolio ?

A friend who attended my talk was having a discussion with me yesterday, he mentioned in passing that one of the Zopim founders actually attended my session and actually interacted with me on my talk. And I was going WOW ! It was such a great honour that someone who is part of an exit of such historical scale would be able to attend my session. Anyway, my friend also expressed disappointment that in the Temple of Startup Capitalism, no one asked me a challenging question which we sort of “prepared” in case someone were to raise it during...

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