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.


  1. Hi,

    Just curious, why would an appreciation of SGD cause a drop in Sibor?

  2. Suppose you are an American investor who is looking at buying SGD.

    If you expect to MAS to allow the appreciation of the SGD relative to the USD, you'd be happy to pay for SGD now and get a lower interest rate than what you are getting on USD savings.

  3. Do you intend to continue with your current law firm after the training contract? May i also check how many of your batch from SMU JD managed to secure a TC?

    Thank you!

  4. Do you intend to continue with your current law firm after the training contract? May i also check how many of your batch from SMU JD managed to secure a TC?

    Thank you!

  5. I think everyone got a TC but I'm sure not everyone will be retained.

    I am still unsure as to whether to continue with Law. It all depends on whether I can go back to IT as it does pay better for me for the moment.

  6. thank you very much Christopher for your reply. May i also ask that if you could do it over again, would you have gone to law school? Also, what do you know now that you wish you had known when you decided to go to law school? Sorry for bombarding you with trivial questions.
    Reason is that i just finished my SMU JD interview last week and i got a strong feeling that i might get in. I thought i did ok for the eassay and i sorta overshadow the other candidate during the interview. But as the days go by, i am starting to have second thoughts about my decision. The opportunity costs were high and the current outlook seems gloomy for the legal sector.
    Thanks for your time.
    I also wished the very best for you!

  7. Shanny,

    First of all, unless you are in your 40s and already have two other decent professional degrees, my experience does not apply to you.

    So here goes : I would not take the Law School route if I can do it all over again. But it's not because of SMU. My batch never saw the glut of lawyers coming and I also faced extra difficulty because of ageism in the legal industry. We were unlucky because of our timing. I was doubly unlucky because of my age.

    Otherwise, you will not find a better Law program than SMU's JD program. The program's rigour and assholery of my fellow students is a feature and not a bug. This is what a highly regarded program should look like.