Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

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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What games can tell us about success ?

Recently, psychologists have dealt a resounding blow against Malcolm Gladwell’s idea that in order to succeed in a field, you will need 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. Of course, the scientific evidence cannot deal a killing blow to the theory because it’s very hard to suss out practice that is actually deliberate in nature. Practice that is deliberate means that its difficulty is designed to always match the capability of the person, something which is harder to establish in a research experiment. All Malcolm Gladwell has to do is to say that most practice is not deliberate in nature,...

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Term Life Insurance and the Brutal Realities of Modern Living.

While I do not buy the argument that concludes that Singapore is a winner-takes-all or a No-U-turn society, many of you may have met someone who experienced the following : a) Someone does not perform well enough to get into a local University. This person has to pay a lot more to attend a private university. Making matters worse,  this person runs a risk of studying for a degree from a shady degree supplier who may close shop and cannot use his parent’s CPF money for assistance. The degree, when finally awarded, is also not accorded the same treatment...

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Six months without work ! Whoa !

Today has been quite a fine day. It’s my wife’s birthday and my seventh wedding anniversary. We spent the day just hanging out with my daughter after bringing her back from school. Otherwise, I’ve reached the sixth month of my retirement. If I did not have Law School lined up in August, I might possibly be insane by now for not being productively making any money for 6 months in a row. Anyway, here’s an update : a) Portfolio experienced my first downturn in finances. Predictably, as soccer season begins, I begin to experience my first month on month...

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Buay Kan Buay Tua Han as a methodology for success.

Translated from Hokkien to English “Buay Kan Buay Tua Han” means that you can’t grow up unless you get fucked first. It alludes to phenomenon that many of us do not experience growth without going through a period of pain first. I think that there is a sufficient evidence that this is a very credible success methodology. Most folks simply do not have the willpower or conscientiousness to perform feats like lose weight or to save money. Pain can thus become a useful ally in such endeavours. Personally, I experienced successful weight loss when I used a blood test...

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