Sunday, April 29, 2018

What is your Samuelson Number ?

Since we are in the topic of the Kelly Criterion and leveraged portfolios can be justified, let's about Samuelson numbers.

In the book Lifecycle Investing by Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres, one controversial concept they spoke about is called the Samuelson Number named after Paul Samuelson, the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Economics.

In this book, the book asks the following question to its readers :

If you would already be retired or financially independent today, how much worth of equities would you have. For some people, it might be, say,  $1,200,000 worth of equities.

Nalebuff and Ayres would then go on to suggest that a young graduate should employ 200% leverage to first accumulate $1,200,000 in equities and then pay off the amounts owed subsequently with investment returns and salary contributions. So a fresh graduate would start with a leverage of 200%, after reaching $1,200,000  the leverage would slowly start to drop until it becomes an unleveraged equity portfolio. Thereafter, investments beyond $1,200,000 will flow into the bond component of the portfolio.

I read Lifecycle Investing quite a while ago but I did not have the courage to put its ideas into practice. Over time, even Paul Samuelson began to question this approach because employing leverage meant skirting with the possibility of ruin.

I see modifying this approach using our low tax REITs regime as something feasible for a young Millenial investor today for several serious reasons :

a) We can now backtest a relatively powerful portfolio of REITs to return 10% which has a low standard deviation of around 13-15% and yield about 6.5%. This means that every $1 contributed into this leveraged pool can generate 10 cents in dividends every year. ( Currently achieved in my margin portfolio )

b) With 10% yields, a $2,000 passive monlthly income can be achieved with only $240,000. This allows the Millenial worker to cover his own expenses in a relatively short period of time in his early 30s.

c) Given how short STEM careers are because of technological disruption, this may be safer than trying to be loyal to an industry/company upon graduation because the need to keep  relearning your skills to stay ahead in the workforce or be relegated to the gig economy.

d) Once $240,000 is achieved, the worker will have two sources of income. His work is not over because he has to deleverage his portfolio to retire, but he will be in a way safer position than someone ho has to rely on his corporate job.

My challenge for the upcoming year is to use of my alchemical skills to combine the ideas of Vicki Robin, Barry Nalebuff, various Quantitative hedge fund investing approaches and a few other authors to create a new workshop that is mathematically tested to allow a new age knowledge worker to reach financial independence at the earliest time.

For now I have yet to complete this project because I have yet to begin crafting a backtest pure equity portfolio.

But in the meantime, it will be great to start thinking about your own Samuelson number.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Applying the Kelly Criterion as a middle ground between a War-Chest and a Leveraged Portfolio.

This week has been really rough for tech manufacturing and income stocks. But what really saved my portfolio was my margin account which held up while the rest of my portfolio got battered. I really look forward to creating another back-tested equity portfolio in time before my talk.

Anyway, one possible middle ground between the war-chest and the leveraged portfolio is the Kelly Criterion. If you have heard about the casino antics of Ed Thorpe, you will know that he was one of the first to come up with a practical approach towards making bets using the Kelly Formula.

You can find the derivation of the formula for the Kelly Criterion for stocks on this link.

For most of us, we just need to know that the proportion of our war-chest to devote to an investment is equal to ( stock return - risk free rate ) / ( standard deviation of the stock ^ 2 ).

So if perform a back test and find that the STI ETF has provided returns of 3.5% with the risk free rate with a standard deviation of 19%.  We can also derive the risk free rate by using the 10 year local bond current yield of 1.8%.

The Kelly Formula yields (0.035 - 0.018) / (0.19)^2 or 47%.

So you should put 47% of your war-chest into the STI ETF.

Suppose you conduct a back-test and figure out a way to create a REIT portfolio that returns 10% with a standard deviation of 13%, let's see what happens instead when we use the Kelly Formula.

The Kelly Formula in this case yields (0.1 - 0.018) / (0.13)^2 or 485%.

A lot of gamblers suggest using this thing called a Half-Kelly so that your position sizing becomes even more conservative. So even if we take half of 485%, 200% leverage is not as insane as some bloggers make out to be.

As a person who only uses 200% for less than a quarter of my total net worth, I really do not suggest that you use an equation to position size a margin account.

What I am saying is that mathematics may be able to reconcile the differences between a war chest investor and a margin account investor.

Sometimes both can be right.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Art of the Good Life #20 : Your Two Selves

[ My pal 15 Hour Work Week has also started a regular series on this Rolf Dobelli book as well ! I read his blog here because he has a different take on this book and I read it to revise its concepts. ]

You have two selves.

The first self is the experiencing self. This is part of the consciousness that is in the present, taking in all sensory perceptions real-time. This part of the self has to sift through millions of data points just to retain a few of it for storage in long term memory.

Which leads us to the concept of the second self also known as the remembering self. The remembering self  gathers, arranges and evaluates all the data captured by the experiencing self.

These two selves evaluate events differently. In fact the remembering self tends to over-emphasize peak events and the also the things which occur right at the end of the event itself. This is the reason why some people who suffer during BMT tend to see it more positively in retrospect.

This idea may explain the behavior of the folks who reach Financial Independence.

It does not matter how long it takes for  someone to reach financial independence. In retrospect, the triumphs in a person's career will determine how he assesses his journey to reach cross-over point, where passive income exceeds expense.

This further means that, without an extremely unpleasant event that actually ends a person's career, folks will generally not voluntarily end a career journey after reaching financial independence. We often get out because we get retrenched or meet very toxic people in the workplace.

We can extrapolate some useful insights from this realization beyond the Rolf Dobelli book.

Those who first reach Financial Independence and then pull the trigger to Retire Early will always tend towards Introversion. This is because the workplace will always be a place of over-stimulation. Endless meetings, presentations and chats next to the water cooler.

Which leads to a deeper realization.

When you read the articles of a financial blogger, invariably you will encounter someone who is heavily biased towards advising readers on what best to do with their money and life and that this advice would actually work against extroverts.

This is where we see the extrovert minority struggle to understand why people are so eager to retire even within this community.

I don't see a problem for extroverts trying to reach financial independence. The trick is to get there first, and then ask yourself how can this financial independence be used to make a bigger dent in the Universe.

Failing that, more money may just mean bigger parties and louder music speakers.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Cryptocurrencies are DOOMED !

Given that cryptocurrencies are going through a minor recovery of sorts, it is time to have an update on cryptocurrency investing.

April 2018 is a very fortunate month for folks who are interested in this asset class. This is because Barclays Bank has devoted most of their Equity Gilt Study 2018 report to technological disruption and cryptocurrencies. While I do not have the actual report, the Economist has summarised what it had to say about the state of cryptocurrency investment world.

The basic gist of the study is that cryptocurrencies have peaked. There will no longer be another upside like what the luckier millennial investors have just enjoyed. The reality that this investment class does not produce a dividend is now sinking in.

Cryptocurrencies also face four challenges :

a) There is a lack of trust in cryptocurrencies. 

Generally speaking, people trust currencies backed by government.

b) Cryptocurrencies lack sovereignty. 

Governments and businesses hate it because there is potential for tax avoidance.

c) Third is privacy. 

Once you lose your private key, every transaction made on the wallet will be revealed.

d) Irreversibility. 

Finally blockchain transactions are hard to reverse.

Where cryptocurrencies remain relevant are in societies where trust is minimal or already lost. It is not difficult to imagine that cryptocurrencies will be quite useful in  a failed state like Venezuela.

How Barclay's bank concluded that the peak is over for cryptocurrencies is super interesting because they got their whiz kids to model the euphoria like an infectious disease. There is a ridiculous ramp up of prices at first but eventually the disease fizzles out as a large part of the population is immune to it. Once prices falls, investors lose hope and sell. Soon prices fizzles out, just like the way a fever breaks.

I really want to get a copy of the report because the approach to model cryptocurrency as a disease outbreak is really cool and amazing and can be reapplied for other asset bubbles.

For now I have concentrated my cryptocurrencies in my Coinbase account and will be liquidating it soon since Coinbase will no longer work with XFERS on 15 May 2018.

If I just retrieve my cash into my margin account, I would have enough to sustain my mortgage payments, effectively attaining my biggest resolution I have set for myself this year.

( If a reader is a a private wealth client of Barclay's bank and access to the document, I'd be most grateful if somehow you can send me a link to a PDF copy)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

You can choose your reality.

When I was single, I thought of wanting to join SDU, so I consulted an engineering classmate who frequently attended these SDU events, hoping that he can give me some  dating advice. I was a desperado and wanted to know what were my chances of finding a significant other when I joined these events.

My friend understood my 20-something self very well so he wanted me to be less of a jerk than already was then. I remember we were riding on the north-south line and he told me that in order to succeed in SDU, I must get used to having dates with average-looking women. So he pointed to me three women of my age sitting opposite us in the MRT.

The first woman was really plain and I would not have noticed her even if she was standing in front of me. The second woman was actually quite a turn off because she had a lot of acne on her face. I can't remember what turned me off the third woman, it might have been her weight. What I do remember was jokingly telling my friend that if I am left with these girls, my family line would be essentially over and I would choose eternal loneliness over a domesticated life.

What is the moral of this ridiculous anecdote ?

Organizations and salespeople exists to create a new reality for you.

SDU's approach towards getting more graduates to date is to bombard them continuously with average looking women and men with average charm so that expectations can be lowered and an eventual match takes place.

They are the in the business of lowering your expectations.

As investors in the 1990s, unit trusts were the rage. In my first book, I wrote about expense ratios and management fees. In those days, I invested in unit trusts like the Templeton Global Equity Fund which could charge over 2.75% in annual fees. Even if equities gave 9%, I would make barely 6%. Dollar cost averaging was the hot new thing 20 years ago.

That was the reality then.

The insurance industry is worse. Agents routinely sell their products as being better than bank deposit rates.

While the situation is much better, we need to careful about the products sold in the markets today, ETFs are highly advantageous compared to actively managed funds but we are seeing very unexciting returns from the STI ETF at around 3.5% last year when simply buying an equal-weighted basket of STI components can give a 1.5% boost to your returns.

So in essence, in the world of investments, you can create your reality.

When I started back-testing a portfolio on Bloomberg, the world of double digit returns with a lower semi-variance suddenly opened up to me. When I started employing leverage, having an expanding portfolio without the need for a day job became a new reality to me. So much so that there are projects that I am eagerly looking forward to doing by the end of this year involving the shorting of stocks.

New realities can also backfire. Cryptocurrency prices can double in a short span of a week. Now we could be seeing a nasty backlash in 2018.

The trick is to stick to the fundamentals like diversification and risk-position-sizing to ensure that there is a way out when the reality changes.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Art of the Good Life #19 : The Smaller Meaning of Life

The larger meaning of life are questions relating to what you re are and how you fit in into the Grand Scheme of the Universe. These are questions that are hard to answer and require a lot of introspection.

The smaller meaning of life is a lot easier to attain because all you need is to understand your goals and ambitions.

The book talks about research done on children. Those kids who consider money as something indispensable had a higher income later in life and are generally happier than those who did not value money as much. Of course, those who valued money but did not achieve material success later in life are the most miserable of them all.

The surface advice from the book is that goals matter. Popular self-help supports the idea of SMART goals.

Scott Adams takes goals one step further and asks the questions of what kinds of personal systems can be built towards attaining personal success as opposed to following simply goals. Habits and rituals are more effective than goals.

So I guess a more complete picture is to first know what your ambition is followed by your goals, and then to find out how to build a system or series of habits to achieve your ambitions.

My goal right now is to offset my mortgage with my margin account. To do that, I have to save about $4,000 a month on an allowance of $800. This means really skimping on on the use of my dividends every quarter.

To do that, I developed two systems :

a) Fish soup once a day. As Maxwell road hawker center soup serves fish soup that is well above average, I get a healthy meal that keeps my blood sugar low at a mere $6 a day. Somehow good healthy diets can drive overall savings since I spend less time at restaurants.

b) Book moratorium on the poor dividend months. Every January, April, July and October, I stop buying e-books and RPGs so that I can use the library more and select only those that I can read in that quarter.

As we speak, my margin account is getting close to $480,000 in size which generates about $24,000 a year. This is not a small achievement as I had no earned income building up this margin account and I was able to  keep my core portfolio generating income that  I can feed my entire family with.  As my margin account is full of higher quality REITs, yield accretive moves should be able to tip me over to be able to offset mortgage payments hopefully by October 2018.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Managing your Attentional Capital or Focus

Today I went over to Starhub to re-contract my mobile phone into a SIM only contract. By doing that I resolve a painful problem I have been facing since I started work in a law firm - I have two devices that employ mobile data that I bring to work, a mobile phone and a tablet. For months, I have been exceeding my data usage by 4Gb and have been spending $200+ on telco expenses every month. So today was the expiration of my contract so I rushed over to switch to a SIM only plan with 16Gb of data allowance.

The conversation was amusing. The sales executive tried to bait me by telling me that I am losing a $100 phone voucher when I refused to get a new phone. I told him that because I used so many extra Gigs of data, I am a good customer of Starhub and I need to stop being a good customer starting today. He then said that I will lose my double data allowance once a year is up. I then told him that by then, I may choose a new Telco by then as there would be four players in Singapore.

I wanted to tell him to stop up-selling so I told him that I'm a Starhub shareholder and I appreciate his up-selling efforts but I'm minimising what I pay to his company to him moving forward.

The conversation then veered into investing and we started to talk about Starhub dividends. I told him that he was stupid for not investing in Starhub because of the 6% yields he's likely to get and that if there is a drop in dividends he would be the first to know because he would be facing more customers like me who are either bailing out or cancelling a plan. The rest of conversation is about how to open a brokerage account and get started to make more money from his company.

That look on his face when I told him that his company pays me better than a bank deposit was priceless.

Even more amusing was that I ended up selling to him.

Ok... This is a pointless story.... I am rambling... All I wanted to say on this blog post is that we need to conserve our attentional capital or focus.

Singaporeans are lucky compared to Europeans and Americans in that very little attention needs to be paid on taxes because out taxes are quite low. Beyond that, life is pretty complicated on this island.

Here are some examples :

a) We spend too much of our time thinking about CPF which is a confusing monster of a scheme because it covers retirement, education and housing.

b) Property ownership takes up too much of our time as well because the asset enhancement depends on our attitude to foreigners and how we prioritise the needs of home owners versus home buyers. I keep getting into Whatsapp chats where people just speculate about property movements and talk about stupid condo launches. But no one ever talks about tolerance of foreign labor which will drive prices moving forward.

c) We have to consider our educational needs - you can't buy a private degree anymore in Singapore because HR departments will hardly consider the degree worth the paper it is printed on. Replacing this is the possibility of developing skills using Skills Future Credits.

d) There are also other endless distractions that we need to think about : telco expenses, insurance expenses and credit card rewards.

If your personal finances rely on so many moving parts, it simply means that smarter and more conscientious citizens will have an edge in society. They simply can take advantage of more schemes to generate more revenues and savings. Just now, I was teaching my single friends about the Entertainer App, something I picked up from Budget babe's talk last year.

For the folks who are not that smart, you would have to prioritise what area to focus on and stop majoring in minor things. This is why I wanted to stop paying for a mobile phone plan and separate my data plan from the gadgets peddled by telcos. For that same reason, I absorbed the risk of floating rates for my mortgage so that I don't have to keep monitoring which fixed rate plans are the most advantageous ones out there. I have been using the same DBS VISA Classic card since I started work and have never asked for a fee waiver in my life. All my card rewards go into paying the annual fee and Popular vouchers.

As life becomes more complicated, the one rule to follow is to simply follow the money.

If the STI ETF provides a return of 3.5% and you backtested an equal weighted portfolio of STI components give out 5%, a $100,000 shift in your portfolio nets you an extra $1,500 a year. If you can backtest a REIT Strategy that gives 10%, then you can earn an extra $6,500.

That's $6,500 every year after you tilt $100,000 away from the STI ETF.

For those starting out, a well executed job switch may net a 20% increment.

No amount of optimisation of your telco bill or credit card rewards can generate extra revenues like that.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hacking your own Millionaire Mindset.

I think that we may have gone too far telling everyone what a Millionaire Mindset is not. The Millionaire Mindset is not about affirmations. Generating wealth is also not about sharing the quotable quotes of billionaires - although running a business selling motivational posters might actually work.

Now it's time for me to propose a generalized procedure for someone to develop a genuine Millionaire Mindset that puts him within a reasonable striking distance of landing a million bucks. Now in order for this to work, you need to read a lot. If you cannot accept this rule, then my approach will not work for you.

I propose that the Millionaire Mindset is hidden behind three books.

1. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley

Nothing cuts through all that motivational crap like hardcore academic research. The Millionaire Next Door is a little dated by now but it shows some of the common traits and habit of everyday millionaires from the perspective of a sociologist. This is where most of the fundamental ideas of frugal living and avoiding flashy consumption come from.

I consider this the first book to read to develop this Mindset.

2. Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin

I read the earlier version of this book which was co-authored with Joe Dominguez. It's not an easy read but it's a textbook on FIRE and may contain humanity's first attempt to characterize financial independence as a cross-over point between basic expenses and investment income.

This is a crucial second book because financial independence is the bridge between survival and attaining millionaire status. It's like castling in a chess game to build up a defensive position early so that you can checkmate your opponent later.

Achieving financial independence allows you to farm your entire income into your portfolio allowing millionaire status to be achieved a short while later.

3. Seeking Wisdom : From Darwin to Munger by Peter Bevelin

The final book in this series is really about mindsets. I think that there is a certain way to think that makes you a better investor, worker or entrepreneur.

I'm in the middle of this book and most bloggers have not featured this book yet because it is quite unique as it unifies some key ideas in  Evolutionary Psychology, Behavioral Finance and some of Munger's ideas on Mental Models into a very interesting read. I think this book should supplant Thinking Fast, Thinking slow by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in a financial blogger's bookshelf because it much more accessible to lay persons.

Of course, developing a Millionaire Mindset may not make you a millionaire immediately.

But this is certainly a better alternative than the wishful thinking recommended by the folks who wrote The Secret.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Art of the Good Life #18 : The "End of History" Illusion

I said recently on social media that an intelligent woman is like a magical sword. If you are not capable enough as a guy to wield this weapon, you can get yourself hurt really really badly.

A very intelligent and capable lady once bragged to me that her husband/boyfriend is a lucky guy because she is smart enough to say the right things to motivate him so that he can become very successful in life. She will push him to become an alpha male, a leader of men that commands respect.

Someone suitable enough for a daughter of a better age.

But as smart as she is, here's something that she does not know about us men.

It's hard to change us.

Changes happen as we interact with the environment. We change only when we are internally motivated to do so. A lot of tragedies in families arises from the desire of the wife to change the husband. A typical tragedy always involve marrying a man-child and expecting him to become a responsible dad overnight. I think you have better luck hoping for a rebound in crypto-currency prices.

While it is hard to change someone, we are always changing - just not in ways that some ambitious or highly intelligent women would find desirable. The rate of change is constant throughout our lives. A hard charging executive might become a lazy has-been after reaching his 40s. Even I changed from a gainfully employed  technology professional to a woefully underemployed legal professional.

Thus the HR adage that companies "hire for attitude but train for skill" is a wise move.

[ Kudos to this intelligent lady I spoke of. She become a highly successful executive and married a truck driver. ]

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Personal Update

This might be a great time to just give a personal update.

a) Training Contract

At this stage, I've reached half-time for my training contract. I've learnt quite a bit of from the past 3 months although for the sake of confidentiality, it is best that I do not provide too many details about my work. Most of the learnings I have derived from my work is how to manage our lives so as to avoid legal problems much later on. Sometime the most innocent moves like treating some of your children better than the others can have huge implications decades later.

Right now, I am slowly ramping up my job search in all the sectors what I can competently work in, targeting the jobs that are out of my league at the moment to see if I can get an interview. This includes the IT sector. I have not much luck so far and even managed to get a rejection letter from a headhunter.

I doubt things would look this easy looking forward in my 40s but I need to ramp up my job hunting efforts next week.

b) Personal Finances

There is a certain magic about working in a job that pays a 3-figure allowance every month. Because I try to eat healthily, I tend limit myself to Fish Bee Hoon meals at Maxwell hawker centre everyday.  l also avoid anything that may put me in a carb coma at 4pm during a workday.

The results from a savings perspective is quite astounding.

I managed to save $4000 every month for Q12018 because I have fewer avenues for spending my money. Reducing this by my home mortgage payments, $1800 is still pretty good and more than many median income families.

c) Financial markets

The maths in the past paragraph does not really check out if you are a new reader and do not really understand my personal situation, but most of this can be made possible because of my new margin account where I leverage high quality REIT that yield 6.5% to yield 10%. This new source of yields complements my old portfolio that yields closer to $5000 - $6,000 a month these days because it has more Tech counters these days.

I think 2018 would have been much better if not for the trade war started by Donald Trump. Over the short term, my portfolio has been experiencing a lot of fluctuation for the past 2 weeks. Medium term, I am cautiously optimistic as Singapore exports may even benefit from the situation.

Like most market watchers, I'm closely watching MAS's next currency moves which may lead to the tightening of the SGD. This can possibly lower SIBOR and make it cheaper to finance our mortgages and make our property more valuable this year. The downside is that our exports can become less competitive.

d) Cryptocurrency markets might be killed in May for many Singaporean investors

Last year, I was cursing myself for not putting enough into cryptocurrency. This year, I'm glad it's only small part of my gambling money.

News of Coinbase stopping Xfers transfers is really bad news and it might be an end game for many crypto investors in Singapore. I'm waiting for alternatives to be proposed by the blogosphere.

For the millenials who keep bragging about their crypto efforts, I wonder how they are doing right now.

e) Book moratorium

On January 2018, I decided to hold a 1 month moratorium where I was disallowed to buy any books so as to generate more savings to ramp up my margin account. It has been rather successful and I have decided to do this for all my low dividend months of April, July and October.

I still have plenty of books to read including a biography of Ed Thorpe and Jacob Fugger. I will feature these reads on this blog at a later time.

f) Leisure

Managing a blog, working on a finance workshop and family means that I have no means of leisure. Maybe I can start gaming a bit in July 2018 when I will give myself a break after my training contract.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Is finance gendered ?

Let's imagine a finance seminar for men ( and men only ) that is relevant to you regardless of whether you are an alpha male or a BBFA.

a) It will focus on lifelong learning and address the issue why boys are not doing too well in school compared to women.
b) It will talk about earnings of blue-collar men who are not getting increments based on inflation rates.
c) It will discuss strategies of saving money by bingeing on Netflix, cutting cable and playing computer games all day. Even discuss the most optimal car to own.
d) It will focus on saving more money by eliminating male-dominated vices like smoking or drinking.
e) It will talk about investing on passive income to offset computing gaming expenses and Geylang escapades.
f) It will address men's shorter life-spans and adjust a mix of annuities and term life accordingly.
g) It will consider the prevalence of divorce and update the men on how our courts will rule on matrimonial asset division, custody of children and maintenance of spouse.
h) The tone will be humorous and filled with hours of filthy jokes along with good advice on money management.
i) Goody bags will be filled with condoms, Viagra, Astons vouchers and Tiger beer.

The question is why does such a seminar not exist ?

I think it is because people might find it absurd.

But once we flip that idea for women, this is common business practice and quite a few start-ups are doing quite alright providing financial education for women.

I think investing is not like writing novels. You can write a novel like 50 Shades of Grey that appeal to mainly to women. The financial markets are fairly consistent to male or female investors. While it can be argued that women tend to trade less and are more conservative in outlook, I know of many men who invest like women ( and do quite well for that matter ). Of course, there are also women who buy shit-coins like the most foolish of millenial males.

In my opinion, finance is different beast. SPH does not pay a different dividend to a man as opposed to a woman. One of my most admired financial journalists is Teh Hooi Ling and I try my level best to adapt to her quantitative investment style towards portfolio building.

The decision to segment the population to cater specifically to women is a business decision and not really based on a superior investing model that someone only works when executed by a woman.

It would be good to hear from women why they need a "safe space" to discuss money matters.

It seems like a gender neutral issue to me.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

The Art of the Good Life #17 : The prison of a good reputation.

This chapter begins by asking the question of who would you rather be :

a) You are the best lover in the world but everyone thinks that you're the worst lover in the world.
b) You are the worst lover in the world but everyone thinks that you're the best lover in the world.

Most folks would choose (b).

The chapter however goes on to show that being obsessed with how people see you can be bad for your mental health. After all, all thanks to social media, we have all become managers of our personal brand. I am always performing a Google search on my own name and measuring the number of eye-balls that this blog attracts. Articles on back-testing and correlations would attract me about 300-400 eyeballs a day but brutal truths about private degree holders will net me thousands of eyeballs over the next 24 hours.

Would switching to internal measurements make you better off ?

It will certainly make you more comfortable, but I know of too many people who set such a low bar for themselves, so much so that they don't achieve very much when they hit their middle age. Furthermore, the book admits that our ancestors needed to maintain good reputation before they could survive as part of a tribe.

I guess this is why financial independence is so attractive to many readers with introverts taking a particular idea to leaving the rat race.

The only measurement that matters is your passive income. After it exceeds your basic living expenses, you can start living the introvert's dream of leaving the workplace and isolating yourself in your little cubbyhole without a care of what the whole world thinks about you.

But for me, there is a slight problem...

I am an extrovert.

My financial independence gives me more ways to engage with readers and fans through talks and seminars.

Perhaps a simpler question would be to choose between :

a) You are the worst investor in the world but everyone thinks that you are the best investor in the world.
b) You are the best investor in the world but everyone thinks that you are the worst investor in the world.

(b) makes you a Warren Buffett.
(a) Makes you a hedge fund manager for an LTCM.