Here's a personal update from me just before I begin exam preparations.
a) Financial markets
I think my financial situation is much better than a couple of months ago. Markets have recovered a bit, but may dip downwards over the short term. The end of March would see a round of dividends coming in which would be applied to my next three months of living expenses, with all the medical emergencies behind me, I should be able to park some money back into the markets.
But the better news for folks with home mortgages is that SIBOR is flat. My belief is that the Fed would not raise interest rates as much as what the pundits would like. China remains the biggest risk for investors.
Of interesting note is that the financial media is starting to talk about this thing called Smart Beta ETFs which have yet to appear on the local scene, maybe I will get to talk about it in further detail after my exams.
Another piece of good news is that Singapore just launched two equity crowdfunding portals. Unfortunately, I do not qualify as an accredited investor yet so perhaps one reason to get back to the workforce would be to work towards that second million in investment assets. My position is that its high time regulators stop protecting retail investors and allow perhaps us to invest $50,000 into an equity crowdfunding platform - some investing is emotional and aspirational and some folks just wanna own a tiny slice of an aquarium. ( Even I wanna own a game-shop one day but don't want to hang out with smelly Magic Players. )
I do hope to do one more research paper on this topic.
b) Law School
I was very lucky to clinched one internship for the holidays so I was at least able to fend off some anxiety over graduation requirements but my studies this semester is a huge mess as the subjects I've taken are perhaps one of the hardest in the JD program (Equity and Trusts is giving me a headache).
So I started preparing for examinations early and have been spending some time mugging in the library. This is perhaps the lowest point of my JD experience with nothing working out for me so far.
If I survive this episode, things will start looking up for me.
Beyond the usual periodicals like The Economist, I am stuck in the middle of Humans are Underrated by Geoff Colvin. So far, I am not really convinced that it has any useful insights. Books have been talking about creativity, empathy and design for decades but sky rocketing salaries are still reserved for software engineers in the US and the hardcore professions elsewhere. At best, books of this genre can convince me that all professionals would need to develop soft skills to thrive.
But then why are 40-50 year olds with experience and soft-skills driving Uber taxis instead of keeping their jobs in the corporate world?
I just watched Batman v Superman and almost wanted to put in a full posting about taste. Critics panned the movie, but many of my friends found it entertaining. There were some unnecessary slo-mo scenes but overall I had a good time and the movie did not seem boring at all. I really look forward to the Justice League movie now.
Growing Your Tree of Prosperity remains my best-selling and most embarrassing product on this blog. It was not edited because I let the publisher convince me that it was not necessary and some money could be saved. Some folks slammed my poor grammar ten years ago. But book sales remain high and more importantly, folks are accumulating $100,000 on the advice from the book. My other works never made the best-seller lists despite solid editing and more sophisticated advice. Maybe the poor grammar allowed me to click with fellow Singaporeans.
Perhaps I am not a beautiful "English Literature person" who insist that every movie must be a rarefied experience with a fabulous plot ( I am the kind of guy who enjoyed The Mermaid and White Chicks ). I carefully cultivate my indifference to good taste in wine, movies or fiction because when you juggle law, an investment portfolio and keeping up with technology, you need to enjoy any crap that is being shown in the cinemas with the limited time you have.
Of course, "numerical people" often have to endure being labelled with bad taste by people who are more sensitive to aesthetics.
This is not the fight we should be striving to win.
Perhaps in between mugging sessions I can catch the Brothers Grimsby.
Catch you guys in about 3-4 weeks when the exams are over.