Monday, December 24, 2018

My 43rd year in retrospect.

Image result for birthday cake

Since I will be celebrating my 44th birthday tomorrow, it is about the time to check-out what I have set out to do in 2018 and see whether I succeeded in 2018.

a) It turns out that predicting the market is a Fool's Game.

Although 2018 has been quite a good year for me, it was quite humbling to see how badly my predictions went. I thought the markets would go up by around 0-5% in 2018 but it dropped by over 10% much to the consternation of everyone in the blogosphere. Even worse, my prediction for crypto-currencies to go up after a massive downward movement turned out to be totally false. My only saving grace was reading Barclays bank's bearish prediction for crypto-currency markets and then sticking to the idea that Cryptocurrency markets will never have another spike in the foreseeable future. At least that has held true right up till today.

I will carry on to predict the markets for 2019, just to see how bad that prediction will turn out by 2020.

b) Upheaval in my personal career turned out to be better than I thought.

If my prediction of the markets turned out to be bad, my prediction for my own career was even worse !

At the beginning of the year, I basically had two plans : either do IT Governance or Law. I ended up doing neither. As it turns out, by mid-2018 both options would have resulted in a massive pay-cut of at least 30% from my peak earning power prior to law school and it would have taken up 12 hours of my time everyday.

I thought that by becoming a trainer, I would have only given me some kind of allowance to give myself just a small allowance to supplement my passive income. Perhaps after a workshop or two, I would need some kind of plan B. I would never have guessed that I was able to ramp up on my game to earn at least the equivalent of previous IT life during the last 3 months of 2018.

More importantly, taking this extreme detour has given me some hope that I might be able to achieve my highest income ever in 2019. And that's doing something I am really passionate about in relation to the financial markets.

c) Leverage account still too raw to start offsetting mortgage payments.

2018 should have been the year that my margin account could start to offset the full amount of my home mortgage. I got close by the end of year, but unfortunately, the downtrending markets will make this only a reality next year.

The higher interest rates have increased my mortgage and margin financing payments. I have determined that it would be wiser to spend 2019 attaining this goal instead, while keeping my margin ratio at a more reasonable number. Fortunately, my CPF can sustain two more years of mortgage payments.

As I have both passive and earned income sources, I can now go for lower and safer yields so I have been targeting the more defensive counters in anticipation for the trade war to get worse. This will be reflected in the co-created portfolios I create and subsequently invest in for my ERM Masterclass.

d) Wrong but happy in 2018

So there we have it for my 43rd year.

  • My market predictions turned out all wrong. 
  • My career careened off the predictable track. And I ended up doing neither IT nor Law.
  • Even my margin account did not manage to confidently offset my mortgage payment by the time the year ended. 
This should have been a dismal year. But strangely enough,  I ended 2018 much happier and in a stronger financial position. I guess life is sort of random that way - I've had years where I met every goal and I was unhappy as hell.

By conducting a class on Early Retirement, I am starting to meet a whole new group of people, who like myself, may have experienced rejection in the corporate world. Many of my students share my passion for Finance and have the same determination to overcome the Death of the Singaporean Dream. 

I am also growing in areas that I was unable to develop before, having just attended Improv and Voice classes to see if I can improve my engagement with my students. At my age, I need to constantly find a new fields to get into or old age will catch up on my quite quickly. 

Finally, if the market really goes south in 2019, I can repeat the feat I sustained in 2007-2009, scoop up all the bargains by using my supercharged income and leading a frugal lifestyle. 

I will be 44 tomorrow. 

Half of my life has already been spent.

My second act has begun.

Predictions and goals for 2019 will be up sometime on New Year's Eve.

Merry Christmas Everyone !


  1. Hi Chris,

    Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to you and your family.


  2. Hi Chris,

    Have you ever thought of settling the outstanding mortgage loan in respect of your property?
    This will lessen your burden of the one and only debt (I suppose) which you are likely to have at the prevailing circumstance.

    My two cents worth of view.


  3. Ben,

    Mortgage rates are still too low compared to investment yields to justify early prepayment.


  4. Chris,

    I believe your trianer journey will be more interesting than the IT or law firm works when you look back after many years later. The important things is to enjoy what you doing and pursuit what you believe in .....������