Sunday, January 01, 2017

2017 is about devolution, not resolutions.

Perhaps because of the backlash against new year resolutions this year on social media, I very much prefer not to go through the process of making new year resolutions for 2017. Most of us fail to track our progress throughout the year anyway.

I think the best thing a 40-something guy can hope for is that things devolve less than before. We are no longer at the age where a new year brings a new and better person with better social and financial outcomes. I am in fact three years away from the 45-54 year old dip for middle-aged men, which has been shown to be the most miserable years of a man's life.

But I think I am way better prepared for this compared to many guys my age.

Anyway, here's what I have to look forward to in 2017.

a) Financial Markets 

I am cautiously optimistic about the future because even as 2016 has been a really bad year, the impact to a defensive income portfolio is minimal. Even if things do not improve in 2017, we would have a great bargain hunting season which would have lasted one year.

As much as it is impossible to predict what a Trump presidency will bring to the world, it is amazing how much other world leaders are looking forward to cooperating with him. But based on metrics like CAPE, my guess is that the US market is not likely to see much upside in 2017.

So flat markets in 2017.

b) My progress in SMU Law School

Three years is far too long to obtain a new qualification.

I am already facing some fatigue and a lack of motivation to study as hard as before and it showed in my grades last semester. Perhaps a better JD program would be built if it were offered part-time for 6 years but I'm itching to use my newfound skills for anything I see at work.

Nevertheless there has been some good progress in this front. I managed to land at least a promise to develop my legal career further in a law firm in 2017. It's been very hard not getting interviews based on my age and so-so grades but I'm glad to get something solid once I had my first serious legal interview a couple of days ago.

c) Managing portfolios professionally as my plan B

As the economy is unpredictable and I could screw up in my subsequent internships, I always make sure that have a plan B. Right now I am in very tentative discussions to examine a career in portfolio management as a remisier.

Over the years, many friends have asked me if it were possible to help them manage their money using the techniques I built over the years.  So right now, there is apparently a way for me to do this but I need to accumulate my fund to a substantial size ($7m - $10m) before I can survive on this job because it is not an in house fund management role.

If you are a reader and would like to consider putting some money with me, do write to me privately to help me assess the feasibility of this career path.

As I have said, this is only a Plan B.

d) Exciting stuff lined up

Right now, me and some bloggers are trying to do one talk first quarter of 2017 but I'm not too sure whether it will materialise soon. But I am always ready to give talks anytime. Just write to me to make enquiries.

Another possibility is one TV appearance in the works but that is one long shot.

e) I hope that everything is ok at home in 2017, but I am prepared for the worst.

2016 has also been particularly rough for my family and I spent a lot of time at the hospital last year.

My mum had a scrape with breast cancer. Then my dad fell down on CNY eve and also on Boxing day so he just came back yesterday from a 5 day hospital stay. My kids have to be sent to KK a couple of times when they had some fever or asthma-like symptoms.

I hope 2017 would be more drama free, but we're pretty much prepared for anything after 2016. My parents are not getting any younger and neither am I.