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Thursday, 26 March 2020

Is Investing/Trading a Team Sport or Solitary Game?

In PC or mobile gaming, its easy to observe 2 main kind of players.

There are those who enjoy playing in clans, join guilds, actively participate in group chats. They love debating the most META strategies, and flexing on the in-game gears and trophies acquired. 

Gaming is a social thing for them.

Then there are the lone rangers. They are more into PVE (player versus environment) over PVP (player versus player) gameplay. They do their own thing. Like collecting waifu characters or playing the game in a non-linear manner...

Make a guess if you are the game publisher, which group is easier to monetise?

Its the same with religion.

Some are in it for the social interactions. They are "religious" only on certain days of the month or week. The rest of the days, they don't act or speak as if they are "religious".

And definitely not deep into the theology or philosophy. Just as long can "parrot" some catchy hackney phrases, they are good to go!

On the other spectrum would be those who prefer to practice self-cultivation. Maybe an occasional meeting or discussion here and there, but mostly they prefer to walk the path themselves. 

These people don't ask others what shoes they should buy; or need others to tell them what shoes they should buy.

Have you noticed the same in our community of traders and investors? And those who seek FIRE?

Of course the biggest "sell" of being in a group/club/discussion forum is we can pool the resources and individual research of everyone. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole...

Surely an investment thesis or trading idea from the "herd" is better!? 

The reality is a few "Indian Chiefs" or "Star Shepherds" are doing all the talking. The rest just parrot or monkey see; monkey do

Ask yourself: Do you feel good when the stocks you owned are also in the portfolios of others?

That's a silly reason to own stocks right?  

Nowadays, there's so many forums and platforms to gather and talk shop. As we speak, many more are popping up.

Its just a numbers game. 

The more people joined, the easier it is to monetise. Its a business. Cool. I get that.

Is investing/trading a team sport or solitary game like chess or golf?

This you have to figure out for yourself. We are all different.

Its quite interesting to read some bloggers sharing their reflections on this topic.

(A quick shoutout to 15HWW for taking personal responsibility and not blaming his friend)


  1. Hi SMOL,

    It's been a long time since I have commented here. Hope you are doing fine and well.

    Thanks for the shoutout and kind comments.

    Interestingly, for games, I am more of the latter kind. But in this market climate, maybe due to "stress", there's some form of comfort in some social support. LOL. But like I said, in the end, it boils down to your individual situation and knowing yourself.

    If follow blindly, you will just reap what you sow.

    1. 15HWW,

      Yes, from the few interactions we had, you don't strike me as a "follower" or gregarious to the point of being "needy".

      If not you won't be where you are now - in your chosen craft - and giving up a very secured (although some may find stifling) safety net ;)

      Yes, when we are stressed or "desparate", we tend to grasp at straws.

      Early in my journey, I did I'm your no.1 fan thing too. Then it struck me if I don't think and figure things out for myself, come 30 years, I'll be stuck with my 1st year trading experience times 30 :(

      You're one cool guy. There are lots of 10 years ahead of you. Looking forward to reading your learnings, discoveries, and reflections on your journey ;)

      P.S. Your nick is very memorable to me. I'm living the 15 hour work week :)

  2. Smol

    I prefer (or rather try LOL) to be a loner in investing.

    But if I'm doing it as a job, then I'll likely adopt a groupie or herd mentality. You won't get fired for going 50% into cash now, or having stakes in Microsoft or Berkshire. ;)

    Ya having (or eavesdropping) on groups can be useful for sussing out interesting ideas. But you'll still need an individualistic or contrarian streak to test out or tweak those ideas. And the best ideas often require one to seek them out, and not simply dropping in the lap kekeke!

    1. Spur,

      You Machiavelli you!

      Yes, unless you want to be a maverick like Philip Yeo, then for job security, its better to seek the "safety" of the herd ;)

      That's why you see retail "investors" say confidently if this or that stock goes to zero, the whole Singapore will fall too! LOL!

      As if that would make it better?

      You think why at this watering-hole, I poke "tarzans" who are the complete opposite of me?

      Throw enough bricks, some jade will respond :)

      I'm not into those "yalor, yalor" motherhood statements. Whenever I see them, I poke!

      My saw can only sharpen when I go against a touchstone.

      I welcome "friction".

      I don't use lubricants here; that's for Desker Road.

  3. Interesting topic! I think I belong to the odd-ball category. I played more RPGs when I was younger, and I loved games that didn't have a fixed way of playing.

    When people played Might&Magic and created a cookie-cutter party of paladin/archer/cleric/sorcerer, mine was knight/druid/sorcerer/sorcerer.

    To me, the idea of role-playing is to make the character/party my own and have some fun in the process of completing the game!

    I dislike most modern MMORPGs due to the grinding and $$ element. Now, it has somehow morphed in a game of who can put in the most time + money instead. I still prefer to be the one playing, rather than the one being played haha.

    No such luxury in the game of life. We have to play, no matter what. I suppose the gamer mindset was transplanted into investing. It's like gathering the best of different schools of thoughts and deciding which ones had synergy with my "play-style" and would allow me to complete the game while having fun at the same time.

    The herd provides "safety" but ultimately, it will fail to cater for my very specific situation. I think this is why I appreciate the poking.

    1. Kevin,

      1 tank and 3 spell casters?

      I guess you love watching the awesome spell effects more than just mindless hacking and chopping ;)

      Oh, the grinding is real... Unless we pay up ;)

      The problem with Passive Investing and Dollar Cost Averaging (they go together) is the investor himself.

      It does not require brains, but it does require STRONG discipline.

      One young blogger already stops DCA on the way down. He feels he can get better prices by waiting for the market to go lower... Hello?

      DCA and passive on the way up; discretionary and market timing on the way down???

      Youth has much to learn about himself...

      You? You doing the opposite.

      Double your monthly scaling-in?

      Its still "passive", but with the sprinkling (that's active) of double gold/experience spell effect.

      You cheater you ;)


  4. If STI crashes below 1,000, how many "Guru" trainers still around doing courses

    1. CW,

      No need to go to the STI below 1,000 1997 Asian financial crisis level... Even I have not started my journey yet ;)

      If STI dips below 2,000, then we are revisiting the 2008 GFC level...

      And that, quite a lot of us can just recall what happened then ;)

      As for those who started their journeys AFTER 2010, then everything is "new".

      Even now, we can see quite a few "bei kambing" trainers and "if you believe me; follow me" bloggers breaking down...

      I like how you admonish that false shepherd for "misleading" others...

      When a "shepherd" starts to listen to others (and changes his plans) - like the man, his son, and his donkey story - what kind of shepherd is that!?

      A very confused and distressed one!

  5. Hi SMOL,

    I confirm plus chop is solitary kind. If I join a clan, it's only to level up so that I can conitnue cheonging alone. In fact, for games, I really hate having a party. Managing them is such a laborious chore for me.

    In real life, joining groups of pple who are like minded can have benefits. Helps to give trading ideas or learn from them. Ultimately, decision to press the trigger is still in my hands.

    1. LP,

      You freeloader you!

      I have some guild members exactly like you ;)

      I'm now the Guild Leader of the mobile game I'm playing.

      Got to be Guild Leader because all the original members left... And I ended "Leader" as default. LOL!

      I only accept late game players. Just as long you are level 60 and above (level 65 highest), membership is automated. Come and go as you please. Some other guilds so serious. Got interviews one!?

      Super quiet and chill. No chatting, no formulation of strategies. 3 times a week we get together to do guild battles with other guilds.

      Since we are all late game players, we know what to do one ;)

      Come to think of it, this watering hole is similar.

      Anyone can come, like-minded or otherwise.

      Poke here, poke there. Debate this, debate that.

      Can be a bit confusing to newbies, I guess?

      But to late game investors/traders who can read between the lines, I believe they will find the comments from the "got substance" commenters quite thought provoking ;)

  6. Hi SMOL,

    Interesting, I'm not really involved in this community so I don't know what kinds of other people are there. So I need to read between the lines when you or 15HWW posts about some other blogger writing stuff and try to infer the meaning.

    When markets up, everyone is guru, it's times like this that's fun to watch.


    1. Howdy ERSG!

      What a coincidence!

      And I just wrote "between the lines" in my comment to LP above.

      Hope you are doing well and safe in Houston!

      Yup. Only in bear markets will we appreciate the meaning of "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face"...

      People not acting according to their plans...

      People changng their plans on the fly...

      Shepherd asking sheep what to do...

      Talk is cheap ;)

    2. Depends on when they learnt how to fight ma.
      Did you learn during 1997, 2002, 2008? Or is this their first fight.

      You can only get used to being punched in the face, by being punched in the face. Hopefully, learn from it, otherwise, keep getting punched lor.

    3. ERSG,

      I knew what's it like from both sides of the fence.

      I started in 1999 and remembering telling myself this is "easy"! Of course I didn't know I was the laggard joining the market late into the cycle going to 2000 :(

      Then came 3 years of lower highs and lower lows until we had the Iraq war in 2003 to reignite the animal spirits.

      I know what's it like to have a U-shaped recovery.

      I suspect most are assuming the current bear cycle will be a V-shaped one like in 2008/09.

      You know what?

      Those who have gone through 1997 AFC will probably focus less on the markets and making sure they still retain their day job!

      Especially if they were in their early 20s or 30s in 97. They are now in the most vulnerable age group - higher pay; low energy.

      They had seen with their ow eyes in 97 how their seniors were treated then. Quite a few retrenched never got back their old jobs even though the economy eventually recovered...

      Couldn't agree more with you on getting used to being punched in the face.

      That's how steel becomes strong.

      By subjecting itself to intense heat and pounded between hammer and anvil ;)

  7. Hi SMOL,

    You are absolutely right about keeping the day job!

    Being in employment is no different from investing. If there are people who earn six digit monthly salary and fresh grads getting paid $10K (banking sector) and yet our company find us 'expensive', we must admit that we could have mixed up price with value. We can gripe all we want about earning 'peanuts' but do we realise or want to admit that we might well be like those really cheap stocks that are cheap for a reason and therefore have little bargaining power or job security?

    We have to honestly ask, what is our company buying from us and would what they are paying for able to get them a better deal? We have any moats? We need to see what our company does being no different from us making purchasing and investment decisions. It is unsettling to think about it this way but if we don't get realistic about it, we could become the frog in the boiling pot.

    With the government throwing out such a massive rescue package, it is a sign that winter will last a lot longer. We really better have our emergency fund shore up first before thinking about betting on a V-shape rebound, getting 2 fold returns within months.

    Hope everyone will sail through this unscathed - even if our jobs can't be secured despite us having put in our best, our prudent financial planning and habits during good times should see us through this till spring comes again. 留得青山在, 不怕没柴烧.

    1. Endrene,

      Self-awareness is quite an important component in EQ; not everyone has it though...

      If you can't spot overvaluation and take some money off the table, its unlikely you'll know when to nibble near the bottom too.

      The same buy-and-hold acolyte that says market timing is for fools when prices going up, is now trying to market time when prices going down!?

      The recent Resilience Budget is one good example of the "failure" in the Efficient Market hypothesis.

      Those who see it from landowner or at least shepherd perspective are definitely not in the V-shaped camp...

      Yet there are those who are happy with the "free" money or are more in the fear of missing out (FOMO) mode. Spouting "nonsense" like once in a life time???

      STI at 2200 or 2500?

      And I thought during 2008 GFC and 1997 AFC our STI went much, much lower?

      Oh! Silly me!

      These people meant STI at 2200 or 2500 was the lifetime low for them! This is their first bear market... Ah...

      When the night of long knives come, they'll come for those who had been neglecting or skiving on the job first.

      You smart (focus on FIRE); company not stupid.

      You think they don't know who's heart was never into the job?

    2. Didn't realise the fuel for FIRE comes from accumulating peanuts we earn from wage slavery? :)


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