Saturday, November 16, 2019

Personal Update

The week has been less relaxing than I thought. I was supposed to conclude my training for Batch 9 and then spend the next few days doing noting much but I ended up doing some administrative matters regarding my dad's matters.

a) My dad's matters

Things are moving much faster than I was taught in law school. In Part B, we were taught that you do up a will because things get slow and complicated otherwise. I ended up going through the Letters of Administration route, and initially I thought things would be really slow, but everything concluded in two months, a credit to our super-efficient Family Courts !

Some of the issues I had to deal with are as follows :

  • Sometimes the Family Court may not understand your investments completely. You need to be patient and work with your law firm to answer their queries. I wrote an email explaining that non-renounceable rights are not traded so have no market value and even attached ESR REIT's circular to show them. The paralegal then forwarded it to the Courts via E-Litigation.
  • CDP needs the letter of administration be a certified true copy. Work with your law firm to certify everything before heading to CDP to complete your task. I should have known this myself but because I did not think about this, took a few extra cab rides. 
  • CDP share transfer from one account to another is $10.70 per counter. Budget this for probate matters if you have many stocks ! It may also take a month to happen !
If you really want to handle issues of probate well when it is your turn to pass on, my only advice is to make sure you have a child who is both legally and financially trained and trustworthy enough to play the role of trustee. My dad succeeded in doing this, but I have no idea how can I execute this myself.

Even now I cannot imagine what would happen if someone is not trained in these matters.

b) Training and Personal Finance matters

When I started on my gig, I really thought my career would peter out by now, but things are better than ever. One side-effect of  having a career taking off this year is that I now have to take very proactive steps to manage next year's income tax statement which means opening and maxing out my SRS account and contributing to my wife's CPF account before this year closes.

Tax-deductibles are no longer a running joke for me so I have to start executing what I have been teaching my students these past months.

Maybe I might even need to incorporate in 2020. 

c) Leisure and Hobbies

I could get into some light RPG gaming one a month but I'm not sure whether this is sustainable because I prefer to create a totally new investment program next year. Otherwise I managed to install an old game I bought last year called Banner Saga that is a turn based RPG tactics game. 

My job is slowly crowding out my hobbies and even binge watching Netflix is now a luxury I cannot afford. What occupies my time is the notion of thought leadership - my investment articles on Dr Wealth have a readership that far exceeds this small blog and we're in competition for eyeballs and that means I need the knowledge to not just produce more articles but to deconstruct the work of other bloggers who may disagree or critique my ideas. One out of four articles I contribute will be less user-friendly and will read like this.

Maybe this is new multi-dimensional chess game I'm playing. 

d) What I am reading

I did not enjoy Narrative Economics by Robert Shiller, the epidemiological economic analysis is great but the book is just a historical rundown on the narratives that impacted financial markets in the past. A good book should teach people how to think about new events and not just rehash old ones. I would have been much happier had the book provide a framework on how to measure and track the infectiousness of ideas as they wreak havoc on your investment portfolio. 

The Man Who Solved the Market by Gregory Zuckerman is much better, tracing the lives of Jim Simons, one of the greatest quantitative investors of all time. I believe that a close reading may unlock the use of Markov Chains in determining which market cycle we are in which can be fantastic for investors like me. 

I have to admit that the idea of picking up a PhD in Quantitative Finance is appealing to me much more these days but I'm worried that my age would make me slower at exploring fresh new areas of mathematics. 

1 comment:

  1. Regarding probate & administration, costs are getting cheaper especially for procedural stuff that even a semi-trained law clerk can do. With future lawtech, costs will come down even more. A straightforward non-contentious P&A with assets < S$3M costs just $1,200 with many law firms today. Even with assets > S$3M, as long as no disputes or caveats, the costs should still be low .... not even pro-rata increased due to economies of scale.

    Haha, I kinda suspected that Narrative Econs might not be your cup of tea.

    Jim Simons probably regretting agreeing to the interviews for the book. Fantastic publicity for his business though. But he did experienced personal/family tragedies, so even with proper use $$$$$$ can solve maybe 90% of life's problems.