Monday, December 11, 2017

How did 2017 pan out ?

We have less than a month to go until 2018, so I decided to look at my first post in 2017 to see whether I managed to fulfil all the promises I made to myself as well as review whether my predictions were accurate.

Here's what I missed out on :

a) Predictions on financial markets were thankfully quite wrong.

It's obviously better to be rich than to be right.

I wrote that 2017 would have been a flat year. I was glad that I was wrong, and I was able to emerge from 2017 with a lot more assets than when I took my last pay-check. My investment performance could have been better over the past 4 years, but considering that my family needs at least $60,000 a year to maintain, to be able to emerge in a better shape than before is a decent feat.

Moving forward my portfolio has developed some capabilities for leverage and I was personally hopefully to introduce a small amount of short-selling in 2018.

b) Career in portfolio management did not materialise... so far.

Another example of making all sorts of bets against myself. I was feeling quite down in January this year and thought my grades would not make me an employable lawyer by the time I graduated which was why I tried to hedge by considering a career managing money.

I am in firmer ground with my legal career now since I am done with my bar exams, things can still go wrong but I am a lot more optimistic than before.

Here's what worked out so far :

a) Less drama at home

2017 had much less drama although my parents are still not getting any younger and I need to be careful as we've just lost our domestic helper.

b) So far there's still hope of becoming a lawyer in 2018

My legal career is gaining more momentum and I have a lot more confidence with my skills now that I have gone through the bar preparations. The actual legal work is a lot more interesting because it is practical and can impact people's lives in a dramatic way. I did not enjoy some aspects of university schoolwork because academic work can sometimes be too distant from reality.

I also have much fewer hang-ups about being older and slower than my peers. What I lack in mental agility, I make up with experience. Thanks to a short internship I am more confident about using my engineering and financial skills to assist in dispute resolution. 

c) That satisfying work with BIGScribe

Lastly, the work with BIGScribe has been the single most satisfying work I have done for the past 2 years. I have made around 7 or more speeches and thanks to the coordination of the directors of the company, we've managed to sell out all the tickets for these events. I also enjoy being a fanboy when some other person is giving his talk.

I think that interacting with readers and other presenters who are smart and have some really great investment ideas of their own is the real pay-off when I make my prepared events. As you guys might already know, I don't sit still when presented with a good investment idea, I will backtest it and add a personal twist to it before using real money to back these ideas up.

My margin portfolio was first inspired by Brian Halim's idea that sometimes it is better to invest in higher quality REITs rather than stick to risky high yielding counters, it was modified again after I attended Marubozu's talk in the middle of year after I tried to backtest and formalise his claims. The leverage came after I became much more confident of taking risks after becoming much more comfortable with the lower volatility of higher quality real estate assets.

In 2018, I will provide some further directions on how my career and investment portfolio will pan out.

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