Sunday 24 March 2019

Does it matter WHEN we retire?

My time, it was fashionable for some high achievers to muse about retiring in their 40s.

These people are usually doing very well in their corporate career earning high incomes.

It wasn't difficult for them. 

Just start saving a bigger share of their high incomes, then convert them to dividend stocks, bonds, or rental properties and they can retire... Yeah, just like that!

Investing acumen optional.

Now the youths of today seek to be financially free by 35. Power!

Imagine leaving university at 22 or 24, and in about 10 to 13 years, you have earned and saved enough money to last you till your 90s!

Still don't believe the power of youths is they don't know what cannot be done?

That's only the money part.

Often when we have achieved whatever we wanted, we begin to have second thoughts...

We all had this experience before right?

That girl you always wanted. When you finally had her, you begin to question were you really into her in the first place...

Or that "toy" you always wanted. You know, that luxury watch you saw others having, you tell yourself when you arrived you also must have! Then like that lor... No feeling when you have it. Now it sits quietly in the drawer. Long time never wear...

Remember when we were in school, one year seemed like an eternity?

And if you failed your exam and have to be retained, one year lost and behind others is a BIG GAP. Or so you thought... 

Then there are men who complained about National Service... How they have lost 2 years compared to girls. Wow. Really? 

Girls, besides giam siap gui men, stay away from these whiners too. What kind of men will use NS as an excuse for losing out to women in the corporate world!?

Funny thing though. Once we are in the corporate world, time pass super fast!

Before we knew it, decades just flew by...

And being stuck in the same job for 10 years is normal to you.

1, 2, 5 years difference? They don't matter now. 

Especially when you see your peer "wastes" 2 years taking sabbatical to study MBA fulltime, come back got promotion; you still doing the same job.

Your junior took up the challenge to work overseas for 5 years, come back now at a higher payscale than you; you still stuck at the same payscale.

Precision is good. But too much black and white can give you depression if you too anal about 2 decimal places.

Would you be happier if you had achieved your financial freedom goal to retire by 35, but go sell salted eggs a few years later? 

(In our community we got that self-styled guru who wanted to create lots of millionaires and the investing doctor who sold his business. Financial freedom is not a free pass to immortality...)

Or is it that bad if you had missed your financial freedom goal to retire by 35 and only able to retire at 50? You know, the more you planned, the more things backfired?

But you get to live to your 90s and beyond? Like lao lee and Mahatir?

I personally think Mahatir must be smiling to sleep every night. He has outlived his political rivals for the win!

I don't know. 

I would love to live till 90 and beyond, provided I'm in good health. I've this greed to enjoy life!

However, If invalid or in pain, I would much prefer to go as quick as possible! 

And if the doctor says I got one more year to live, I'm mentally and spiritually OK too. 

You know what?

Right here, right now, I'm OK (typical Singaporean response). I have a reason to get up every morning.

I don't have to worry who will take care of mom and dad as I have 2 others siblings to take over. 

What I have can be gifted to them to lighten the load, at least financially speaking.

Sometimes I do pinch myself.

Am I lucky or what?

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Change, regime change, and dreams...

Its quite fascinating looking at the Brexit process currently undergoing in UK right now.

Especially when I contrast it against how Singapore got kicked out of the Malaysian Federation in 1965.

I guess we were lucky we had strong leadership in 65 or what?

It brings to mind what I've gleaned from history - strong leadership is always about one - the Queen Bee or Alpha Male.

Weak leaders always got a council, a committee, a tribe, a horde... to hide behind. 

UK joined the then EEC in 1973. Now it wants out... Maybe? 

Its like getting a divorce 40 years into your marriage. Well, it lasted longer than the quickie shotgun wedding like ours! 

Time can be quite the tempest after lulling us into complacency through long periods of calm and predictability.

Long established political parties that had ruled forever and ever can suddenly find themselves in the wilderness of being in the Opposition. Think LDP in Japan, KMT in Taiwan, and now UMNO in Malaysia. 

Of course the next big one to watch is the CPC in China. I wonder whether it will happen in my lifetime?

Now that would be an interesting macro trade if I still around! (Singapore would definitely be 10 million with the influx of super rich immigrants! Property still boleh?)

Looking back more than 30 years when I started my jouney into the adult world at 16, comparing to the goals and dreams (or lack of) I had then, it quite amazing none of them were remotely close??? LOL!

My life definitely is not one of those who started out with goals and plans, and everything turned out as exactly as they've planned!!! They'll probably make good central planners?

No. Mine was more like a leaf in the wind. 

I defintely did not expect to be bald! (But I look cool OK?)

Then again, some say luck is preparation meeting opportunity....

I've no control over opportunity; I can do preparation though. Wink.

Wah lau, what talking you?

I catch no ball!

Well, I don't patronise you by explaining everything in cartoon like the brochures pasted next to our HDB lifts. 

You see what you want to see. Your take out may also depend on your own life experiences - whether you are starting your journey, reaching your mid-life crisis, or strolling down the mountain.

It can be harder for those who go toilet must jio others to go along...

Just saying, in case you didn't catch what I meant by leadership of one. Wink.



Wednesday 13 March 2019

Josephine Teo’s data of Singapore Elderly’s Low CPF Payout is Depressing?

We see what we want to see.

It reminded me of the story why steel helmets for soldiers were reintroduced to soldiers during WW1.

During medieval sword fighting times, of course everyone uses metal helmets. But with the invention of the muskets and other firearms, metal helmets and armour were considered obsolete...

In 1914, there were in fact no major armies using a steel helmet.

Once hostilities started, steel helmets were quickly deployed.

You wouldn't have guessed based on the battleground statistics of the injured soldiers at the beginning of the conflict before steel helmets were reintroduced.

On the list of the injuries sustained by injured soldiers during combat, few injuries belonged to head wounds.

If head injuries were low on the list of injuries, why then the focus to offer protection to the heads of soldiers?

Make a guess why?

If you genuinely clueless, its probably a tell why you suck at fundamental investing... You can't read the numbers.

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Subject-based banding - 地球上的星星

Who knew O' levels would be scrapped in my lifetime?

Subject-based banding to replace streaming?

Now that's what I call progress!

I'm happy for youths of tomorrow.  

Respect to big daddy for recognising the unintended problem of "labelling" from the streaming model. Yes, streaming cuts down the number of school dropouts, but it created a "caste system" in its wake..

Regular readers know how I feel about "labelling". Yup, calling yourself an "investor" does not make you more competent or skilled. 

For those of you who understand Mandarin, you can watch this Youtube clip:

《地球上的星星》    -  20 minutes long.

For those of you who can read English, if interested, you can watch the full Hindi movie with English subtitles here:

Taare Zameen Par      -  2.5 hours long.

If the actor looks familiar, he also appeared in my ancient blog post here:

The 3 idiots - Inspirational and philosophical movie!

No. What we have done is not "new" or revolutionary. Many other countries and education titans have discussed and explored it before. Both today and during ancient times - think Confucius and Socrates. Yeah, that old!   

The biggest difference is big daddy dare to squeese the trigger and implement it on a nationwide basis. Power!

Feels good and proud we no longer need to rely on the Cambridge "halo" after so many decades...

Singapore is already an education hub for the region today. Just look at the diversity of foreign students that come to Singapore to study - from primary to the tertiary level.

I guess just putting Singapore on our certificates and diploma is enough to win academic respect from employers and foreign universities alike. Wink.

Don't pretend you were surprised with the changes. You knew it was coming. 

Where got people during national day rally speech talk about competence and down playing of paper qualifications?

You forget the speech by pinky about O' level holders being generals and CEOs already?

Monday 4 March 2019

Wanton Mee 加面包?

We had a new promoter that joined us this week.

He left Singapore to study in Canada and stayed there for over 20 years.

Came back to Singapore 3 years ago as his mom is ill...

Our story almost same same.

I must share this hilarious culture shock story about him getting use to Singlish and Singdarin all over again!

While waiting in line to buy our wanton mee, he heard the lady in front of him placed her order.

"Wanton mee 加面包."

Puzzled, he asked the hawker when his turn came, "Do we add bread to wanton mee nowadays?"

The hawker looked just as lost and puzzled. Then burst out laughing!

"Orh! Its wanton mee 加面 (additional noodles); 包 (takeaway) lah!"

That's the hallmark of Singlish and Singdarin!

We super efficient or what?

Cut out lots of extra words and what grammar?

Use the bare minimum of words to express oursleves.

A lot of blanks for missing words are "understooded".

We also like to rojak everything.

Wanton is Cantonese.

Mee is Hokkien.

加面包 is Mandarin.

Come to think of it, although I call myself a "trader", I'm very Singlish and Singdarin when it comes to my investing and trading!


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