Thought a quick update is in order.
a) Financial update
It's quite scary to think that I've not had a pay check from a company for 22 months. Even more interesting is that I've yet to draw on my investment portfolio capital since the last day I left the workforce.
Some sales did take place to reposition my stocks and some monies were returned when MIIF was taken off SGX. But all on all, I was able to farm part of my dividends back into the markets and a couple of P2P lending campaigns.
But overall, my portfolio was still down due to the slowdown in the Chinese economy, I expect my overall dividend flow in 2015 to be lower than 2014 but the year is not over yet and I normally assess my annual income in January when the summary statements arrive.
This month is particularly important because I finally paid up for Law school ( Yayyy! ). Accelerated payments by SMU was financially quite stressful for me and I had to hold back on investing in the stock markets when the bear market was making everything seem so attractive to dividend investors. Hopefully the November batch of dividends will see me playing more actively in the markets to boost my income further before I graduate.
2016 is going to be financially challenging year for all of us. I am likely to face dwindling dividends from lower rents but I have to maintain a mortgage loan with higher loan payments. My CPF can probably last me another 4 years of mortgage payments, but there's no way of predicting what would happen in China over the next few years - one slip in my asset allocation, and I will have to get a job as lawyer in 2017 because I have to, not because I want to.
I find myself combing the China section on the Economist carefully for any investment insight, but so far it's anyone's guess as to what will happen next.
b) Studies update
For this semester, I had a lucky streak of being able to finish all my presentations early which meant more time for my exams. I was so happy last Friday after my last presentation that I spent 24 hours not touching my books and case readings.
More importantly, it feels good to be let out of my cage.
I concluded my pro-bono and community service requirements for my program and have more time in my hands to possibly read some non-law school writings.
This semester I am starting to really stretch the envelope of what it truly means to be JD student. I have started coming up with more innovative ways to render the legal knowledge taught in school. This means really leveraging on my 15 years as an IT guy in class.
This semester, I was able to hack a prototype on Google Forms to advise lawyers on Non-Exclusive Jurisdictional clauses without declaring a single variable.
The class is also warming up to the idea of employing computer flowcharts to elucidate certain areas of the law. The following is a computer flowchart I hacked for a Corporate Law presentation. I learnt flowcharting when I was a JC student doing Computer Science, it's getting a fair amount of attention in class these days because it is simple and useful.
Maybe the folks in Singapore Academy of Law will create some diagramming standards because expressing everything in prose is so 19th Century. ( For that to happen lawyers must believe that they can learn something from IT guys. )
c) Reading list and hobbies
To preserve my sanity I play a Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition game every week. Every Saturday, I play a polearm wielding schizophrenic human paladin whose is a real beast in combat. At 3rd level, I took out an elite boss with a 42 damage smite attack.
Otherwise I am reading some newer RPG products like the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide and Primeval Thule.
For financial books, top on my list to read next are all of Teh Hooi Ling's Show me the Money Books and this highly recommended work called Asian Financial Statement Analysis by Tan Chin Hwee.
I've been really deprived when it comes to movies lately, I had to miss out on really good ones like The Martian but I was really grateful to be able to catch the Last Witch Hunter which stars Vin Diesel who is another D&D player.
Next week, I hope to catch James Bond : Spectre.