Saturday, December 28, 2019

Which Financial Martial Arts Manual is the best ?

The financial blogosphere is very much like a Wu Lin. Different investors practice different forms of investing and, now that I have a dojo of my own, like Ip Man, there is always the risk that someone will come and pick fights with you.

While I did not study my Kung Fu from a specific master, I spent more time doing degree programs and certifications to pick up my financial knowledge. If you had done formal study, you'll understand how difficult it is to bring your investment knowledge into the jurisdiction of your choice. Another words, how to the rules and regulations work in Singapore and what products are really available for the man on the street. Particularly important are details on insurance schemes that always seem mystifying to me because insurance agents were very skilled at making insurance planning more complicated than it should be before the age of where all this can be easily found on the Internet.

Fortunately, in 2004, the really good folks from Providend Pte Ltd published what I think was, at that time, the most powerful martial arts manual known in the financial planning world even right up till today. I say this as I have even reviewed local university textbooks on this subject matter.

I remember 15 years ago, this amazing tome was selling at $110 at Kinokuniya bookstore. I waited months for a 20% sale to occur only to be told that textbooks are not entitled to the discount. After I read this book, I went on a Kung Fu rampage, trolling commissioned sales agents with knowledge that they should have known, and shaming them for not knowing more than a "mere IT server administrator". My weapon of choice then was "Buy Term Invest the Rest" - nothing pisses them off more than this fantastic idea. The only equivalent these days is to watch "Mad Dog" Xu Xiao Dong beat up fake Tai Chi masters with his MMA moves.

Of course, reading the book many years ago also instilled in me a very healthy respect for non-commissioned financial advisors. Good guys do exist ! If Providend Pte Ltd can publish such a useful guide for a layperson, I'm sure their paid financial advisory service would be way better. Even today, I work closely with Money Owl directing my students to them (without accepting commissions) to solve problems that I was not licensed to do.

Sadly, this tome is in dire need for an update to the latest securities legislation as well as government schemes. "Buy Term and Invest the Rest" has also become a blunt instrument that agents are now very skilled at handling this class of objections. I doubt other than intellectual curiosity, there is a need to hunt down old copies of this book as it is better to get a University textbook on financial planning that contains more recent information.

Even today, every time I get an opportunity to speak to Christopher Tan, I would beg for a new edition of this book. Also, I welcome readers to recommend the latest incarnation of the martial arts manual that can be used to give grief to the modern equivalent of the commissioned insurance sales agent.

Read a book and you can piss off one commissioned sales agent.

Write a book and an army of retail investors can piss off an entire industry of commissioned sales agents.

1 comment:

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