Saturday, December 21, 2019

Why is it so hard to sustain a financial blog in Singapore ?

Done right, conversations should get some people thinking...

Two decent conversations occurred this week.

I was asked what keeps me going on in my career even though my dividend income has reached a point that I don't need to do anything to sustain over double my total expenses. Is there anything I really want out of my personal wealth ? While I know what motivated me to carry on, I can't seem to figure what I actually would do with my investment earnings this year beyond buying even more investments.

Another conversation was about why so many financial bloggers have either quit or downgraded their operations over the years.  We went through the roster of bloggers that were prominent many years ago when we launched BIGScribe and it seems that more than half have moved on with their lives.

I think as a blogger, I am stronger than ever although I am more "dis-corporated" as of late. The serious articles go to the Dr Wealth Blog and I push myself to make 2-3 articles for each preview I run, so the volume is very high. I am also starting to write a different kind of article for TheFinance.SG. This blog remains as a place for my personal musings and I may document my "PhD feasibility study" that may take the entire 2020.

Here are some of the points about the blogosphere:

  • A fundamental issue is that blogging is a haven for introverts, but monetisation is the province of extroverts who can speak in public and put up a live performance. If you try to support yourself via the intrinsic motivation of write about what you like, you are not going to get a lot beyond a pat on the back. If you make too much money, trolls will come and mess with you.
  • Thought leadership is hard even if you are willing to self-study. I don't think you can sustain something if the overall level of your general ability remains static. Some folks may be stuck at the personal finance level and will parrot Robert Kiyosaki for a while. Even the better investors are parroting Warren Buffett. These materials have been around since the 1990s. As of now, no financial blogger is exploring machine learning that is slowly creeping into finance book-shelves. I think Jim Simons is the new Warren Buffett, but no one has a firm grasp of Markov Chains to talk about different ways of looking at the markets.  Here's this : Extroverts suck at thought leadership.
  • Finally, life gets into way. Money is not going to dominate your life as you move through different stages. I bet some financially independent folks will lose their status if they had a spouse with kids. This is natural. In my previews, I spoke about losing my FI status multiple times in my life.
Here is what motivates me right now to carry on:
  • There is a class of baby boomer bloggers who do not have nice things to say about my career progress. Unfortunately for them, I seem to get a high every time someone disses me on the blogosphere. I don't think there is a need to start WWIII on the Internet but it just happens that I get nourishment from negativity as much as positivity. I think these losers should not be picking on a young punk like me - internally, I benchmark them against dad who made one landed property purchase and left the world a multi-millionaire. And these clowns actually think they are special because they survived the Asian Currency Crises.
  • There is some residual unhappiness I encountered before my current training career. Some people have spent too much time bragging about their career accomplishments and cultural superiority when I was very vulnerable and needy on the career front. 2020 is the year of pay-back. I want to beat their highest salary earned over a year with 1/7th of the time spent at work. 
  • The stark reality is that we don't have true friends or enemies. We're surrounded by hordes of frenemies whose interests are aligned and disaligned at different time periods. Because of this, if we are rising in this world, we will always face saltiness wherever we go. A lot of folks cannot contend with this kind of negativity but I seem to love it.  
  • The crusade against commissioned insurance agents has to continue even though I see individual commissioned agents as my allies who provide my useful intelligence. I think a better outcome is to use political influence to Thanos snap the whole industry, removing the safe harbour clause that makes insurance sales an exception to a pyramid marketing scheme. 
If I take a step back and look at what motivates me, I come to a very brutal conclusion.

I have never really been motivated by any upside from all this that I do. 

I think the negativity keeps me going.

How to beat this class of people.
How to silence my critics. 
How to wage war. 

Maybe one day when folks decide to stop feeding the troll, I will look at what I have accomplish and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

But not today.


  1. Hey Chris,

    Glad to see you are taking the negativity in your stride. I guess you are, and have been a disruptor in many ways, finding new and ever more efficient ways of achieving your goals, including financial independence.

    Ive been a follower of your blog for sometime now and I think you are one of the few who come up with novel real world applications of theories with potential impacts. No article of yours is without a "So What".

    Keep on using the words of the haters as fuel for your fire. And I think its great that you have recognised that there are no permanent friends or enemies in this world, only coinciding and diverging interests. So the best of friends on 1 issue may be enemies on the next. It is this failure to understand the underlying interests at play that gets people upset and disappointed with supposed friends and even spouses at times, rather than being able to take a step in their shoes and understand what they do is only natural and perhaps even think of ways to counter them.

    In any case, glad to hear 2019 was a good one for you and wish you all the best for 2020.

  2. Hi Chris,

    It will be uphill task in maintaining a financial blog given on the various type of commitments which one has to undertake in life. Some examples are the financial, family commitments. These commitments takes up a large chuck of time from one and he/she will not have the time and energy to focus on the sustaination of the financial blog.

    My two cents worth of view.


  3. Heheh I think no problem for you to beat most non-partnered lawyers' earnings in 2020. At the very least you'll be in their ballpark on 10% or less in workload ... plus doing it in berms or jeans.

    As for Buffett lovers, I believe we're in the middle of a 20-year secular bull with another decade to go, hence most any type of long strategies or philosophies will work.

    Which is why I said no problem beating the earnings next year as more retail rush to seminars as the bull roars louder. Sure, there'll be a recession or 2 over the next 10 years, but I suspect will be relatively shallow & not derail the secular bull till around 2030 ... or even later.

  4. Hi Chris,

    As a retired baby-boomer, I enjoy your writes and life philosophy. Yes, do continue your writes and not be disheartened by your detractors esp those baby boomers still working for survival sake. It takes skill or mental strength to turn negatives into fuel. They may holler, mostly out of envy as you have FIREd at a young age and doing what you enjoy. Carpe diem.