Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Art of the Good Life #46 : The Arms Race.

This chapter reminds us to avoid the Arms Race.

This advice is particularly relevant in Singapore.

The biggest arms race in Singapore is the game of buying tuition for your kids. Parents are fighting an arms race that sees their children studying much harder but being unable to meaningfully do better than their peers because the other kids also have a lot of tuition. The only effect of playing this game is to enrich tuition centres.

At the professional level, the legal industry is also big red ocean that sees the top A level students being thrown into an industry that is facing disruption from technology. This means that, across the generations, lawyers are getting smarter, putting in more hours at work, but getting the same amount of salary when divided by the number of working hours they put in. The Supreme Court has put up a bombshell consultation paper that nay see significant changes to how much lawyers can charge clients for large civil cases. There is a possibility that billings may go down from these set of reforms.

If you find yourself in an arms race, the best strategy would be to put yourself into a smaller pond where you can win consistently. The wiser and richer parents today are relocating their children to Australia where they can have a happy childhood and enjoy an economy that has ever seen a recession for the past 27 years.

The same advice applies to freshly minted legal associates. If you find yourself stuck in an office full of brilliant colleagues, you need to know that making partner would require a lot of personal sacrifice with a huge chance of failure. One alternative would be to specialise in an area and cultivate your own pool of customers to eventually strike out on your own. The other would be to start thinking about how you can transition into becoming legal counsel for a multi national.

Even financial blogs face the same kind of competition against each other.

There are a lot  bloggers who excel at explaining financial concepts to beginning investors. Others may become experts in the new age bank accounts that give higher returns. Also popular are articles on how to optimise the use of a credit card.

These are areas which I cannot possibly be good.

Thankfully, there are plenty of things that I can write about for intermediate investors who want a deeper insight into the deeper workings of the Singapore Stock Market. By now you should know that I mainly write for myself. The articles are areas which I have a deep personal interest in.

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