Author: Taking Care Of My Own Business

Are you ‘kiasu’ enough on being lazy?

There are many merits of being lazy. Come on, don’t be lazy, be a bit kiasu* and read on. Laziness is the road to progress, but only when it is combined with intelligent thought and high ambition. For example, lazy and intelligent managers achieve exceptional results and make the best bosses. Because let’s face it, all successful business careers flow from a few critical decisions, made infrequently. Don’t think it comes easy though. The best lazy managers have acquired their laziness by working at it for years.  I myself tried hard to become more lazy throughout my life … but...

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The 3 numbers that can – no – will make a real difference in your life

Number 1: The age you start saving The younger you are the larger your crucial asset. That asset is called time. And I bet you have more of it left than me. I certainly do have more Christmas days behind me than in front of me. Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. One idea is to spend time in the market. Because it is your greatest natural advantage and makes all the difference in making money work for you (the generally...

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My 10 Golden Rules: If I were 22, I’d wish that someone would have taught me

1) How to succeed? The education system you just went through has planted some seeds into you.  Now it is up to you—and only you—to make them grow. Go the extra mile, and see how good you can be at something. The harder you work, the less crowded a road you’ll find – fewer people than you think embrace work as a central path to self-worth. Success is more about contribution than it is about achievement. There are no short-cuts to success. None.  So suck it up, stop whining, work smart, find your niche and be great at it....

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Herd Behavior or Herding or Lazy Thinking

Mostly, our herd conformity is a good thing and it’s one of the reasons that societies are able to function (legal system, driving, etc).  Nevertheless, watch out for what you step into when you follow the herd. Herd behavior occurs when investors follow the behavior of a larger group, even in situations which may be difficult to rationally justify the decisions of the group. A classic example of herd behavior occurred in the late 1990s.  Investors poured huge assets into stocks of young fresh Internet companies, even though many of them didn’t have any profit and were unlikely to generate significant revenues in the foreseeable future. As this example is...

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What the age-experienced know and we don’t

Or maybe we actually do know it and just fail in doing what we know we should do. To know and not to do is really not to know yet. Some timeless advice I’ve heard from the age-experienced over the years:  time is more important than money  almost everything in life is a trade-off  autonomy at work is highly underrated  being nice to people is highly underrated  quit worrying so much about the past and the future; enjoy the NOW It can be difficult to think this way in the heat of the moment. I know that’s true for me....

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Use your money to buy happiness

The younger you are, the more likely you are to believe that more money is the key to happiness. This is why, in my experience, many confident 20-year-old college boy wants to go into investment banking. And it’s why we work like machines or hamsters in a wheel in our 30s and 40s. Readers of my blog do know that I like to check in with those age-experienced to “fast-forward” my learning on what is really important in life. Because there certainly is a gap between what we think our goals are when we’re young and what we wish our...

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Success is here – it all depends on the second letter

I ended my previous post with the question “How will you measure your life?” Another way to put it would be to ask “How do U define your success?” Do you have a vivid picture in your mind what success and what being successful looks like for you? Success must be “seen” into life through forming images. Because you can’t hit a target you can’t see. It has been shown that people who do have written goals tend to develop a system to live up to them. Those who don’t, drift. Without goals success is impossible. Otherwise how would...

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Do you know where you are going?

Everyone wants to be wealthy. The problem I see more often than any other is that the majority of normal investors skip the first step in the process of wealth building completely. People want to know what to invest in before thinking through what they’re investing for. Without a deep understanding of the ‘why’ when investing it is utterly difficult to figure out the ‘what’ or ‘where’ to put your money. My experience when talking to friends and colleagues has taught me that most people assume they need help with portfolio management — and many of them do —...

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Survivorship Bias

Was reading the Sunday Times today when several “Unit Trust Providers” and “Actively Managed Funds” peddling their services through ads caught my eye. Whenever I do read those eye-candies, I can’t help but recall the miserable track record of active fund managers. But how is it then possible that their ads, their validated track records and their promises still look so attractive? They are not allowed to “lie”, right? Simply because of the Survivorship Bias. That logical error of concentrating on things that “survived” some process and ignoring those that did not because they are no longer visible. In the financial...

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Are you a victim or do you Tacomob?

Now the profound simplicity of what I want to share today will elicit in some people yawning boredom and in others “Aha!” eureka moments. Yet whether you yawn or go Yippee! it all depends on the meanings you construct. And the “problem” with the meanings we construct is that because our innate powers are so simple, many will discount them. I am convinced of this: If you want to unleash your potential and live a self-actualizing life, if you want to make the most of your possibilities and live life as fully as possible (and who doesn’t?) — then...

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Finally, a less wordy post about our biases

Thank you, dear readers, for reading my blog-posts and for letting me know what you like and dislike about them (for example, too long, too wordy). I hear you; thus, this post is succinct in answering: Why we save so little? Why evolution is to blame for our stock losses? Why we should think more about our limitations? In fact, let me delegate to chirpy Laurie Santos to answer those essential “you-never-dared-to-ask-before-questions”. Ted Talk on Monkeynomics (19.38 mins) Ok, I admit the post isn’t less wordy, since it’s just a substitution of the written word with lots of spoken words. So, for those of you who do not have the time—to sit through the whole talk—you can zoom in to the...

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Do you like your day job?

Five years ago, I was rather unhappy with my day job. Social psychologists would have diagnosed me as being disengaged. My growing disengagement resulted in me quitting. Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. Quitting and retiring from my corporate duties at that stage in my life was actually one of the better decisions I made so far. But recently I came across this sobering chart: This made me think.  Why have I been so disengaged and why are so many employees in Singapore disengaged too? While there is so much focus and attention on driving higher productivity...

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Taking care of my own busyness

It happened again. I had lunch with an ex-colleague back from that phase in my life when I served my corporate duties and built up the foundation of my finances. TACOMOB: “How are you?” CORPORATE WARRIOR (CW): “Busy.” TACOMOB: “Busy with what?” CW: “Busy with work, what else?” TACOMOB: “Why are you not busy with life?” CW: “Actually, I am busy all of the time.” TACOMOB: “What are you doing outside of work to keep yourself so busy?” CW: “What do you mean?” TACOMOB: “Well, for example are you keeping yourself ‘busy’ with taking care of your own business?” CW:...

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Have you recently thought about the Recency Bias?

We tend to associate more importance to recent events than we do to less recent ones. The more vivid our memory of something which occurred in the past is, the more “available” that event will be in our mind and the more probable it will seem to happen again. But that’s not the right way to assess risk. An event does not become more likely to recur merely because its last occurrence was recent, memorable, or still on-going—like the current bull market of ’08-’17.  Many people implicitly presume that the market would forever continue its gains (not talking about Singapore here), forgetting...

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Old news that made me go hmmm last week

I am not a very up-to-date kind of guy. Sometimes I stumble across some very old facts that I did not know about before (and that have nothing to do with investing). Like this one: The condor uses the least energy to move a kilometer of all species. So far so good. That sounds reasonable. The source being a study published by Scientific American in March 1973 (= good excuse for not having known about that fact as it was way before I started schooling). So, where on that list of various species does the crown of creation rank...

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