Monday, December 25, 2017

Thoughts on my 43rd Birthday.

I actually share the same birthday with two illustrious individuals. The first founded a major religion and is thought to have died for all our sins. The second guy made millions of people die for his sins when he started a Cultural Revolution in the last century.

This Christmas is also the first year that I dedicate Christmas exclusively to my family without the presence of any friends. My family does not have domestic help at the moment, and I can't seem to choose which friends to invite to my home without being unfair to the rest. This is a good problem for an extrovert to have as I have made many new friends in the financial blogosphere and legal industry. So, instead of a massive birthday celebration, I will spend the rest of the holiday season catching with anyone who is free.

a) I still have a chance with the legal profession

The past year has been spent putting the final touches for me to join the legal profession. I finally graduated with my JD and finished off my bar exams. Beginning next year, I begin my training contract and will spend 6 more months in the legal sector. Beyond this point, anything can happen.

I will need to make an honest assessment of my commercial value as a corporate litigator vis a vis my value in IT compliance.

b) My four year "Holiday" is over in 2018

Compared to my classmates, I don't travel a lot. I think transitioning into the legal sector is itself like global travel, although the academic stress may mean that it's closer travelling to Iraq or Afghanistan for a sightseeing trip. Nevertheless,  I had a great holiday of 4 years where I picked up an entirely new discipline and gained the capability to take apart a new class of problems that most engineers can only dream of solving.  ( My favourite being a theoretical exercise on how to scheme with a old patriarch on the myriad of mays to leave money for his mistress. )

Particularly valuable is the experience of interacting with a new generation of legal professionals and working alongside the widely misunderstood class of Millenials. ( Making things more challenging is that I used a Macbook Air as my PC throughout my legal training )

As a result of this experience, I have a lot more confidence in this generation of Singaporeans. As such, I would like to leave the Millenial shaming to the losers and cynics in my age category. My concern moving forward would always be about matching their energy, earning their respect and keeping up with these folks in my next workplace.

c) More challenging financial targets moving forward

From a financial perspective, I should be relieved as my net worth today was higher than my last day of work four years ago. This is considering that it takes about $60,000 a year to support my family each year and I have been out of workforce for four years.

Moving forward, I have to adjust my passive income expectations upwards. First of all, my margin account must be able to offset my mortgage payments, leaving some room for modest capital gains. I really want to give my CPF-OA a break after I start work.

Secondly, my new career has to push my passive income from my core portfolio to $120,000 a year. This is going be quite a challenge on rookie lawyer's salary and I may be kept busy until, perhaps, I am 55. ( But returning to IT might make things easier. )

d) No more half-hearted financial positions.

This year in 2018, there will be a massive change in the way I approach my investments.

Although it was a positive year, one of the reasons I made so little money from crypto was because I was not brave enough to take a meaningful position when I have a personal conviction on something. I have set the threshold of a meaningful position to 1% of my net worth. From this point onwards, gains become more meaningful but losses will start to hurt in this upcoming year.

Beyond establishing a margin account, I will be creating a market neutral portfolio and will take on a more aggressive stance on new age investments like crypto-currencies. As everything operates beyond my need for financial independence and supporting my family, I can turn my investing operations into something akin to an experimental laboratory. You can expect statistical programming to play a bigger role moving forward.

Next week, I will try to make my predictions on the markets next week in a New Year Post.

Merry Christmas everyone !



  1. Hi Chris,

    Happy belated birthday. Looking forward to more of your statistical programming posts.


  2. I will do my best but building up legal skills will take priority in 2018.