Wednesday, July 22, 2020

How Millenials can save themselves when it comes to their Personal Finances

Evolution doesn't proceed in a straight line, so why draw it that way?

I was quite appalled when I read the latest article that features the latest sensations in personal finance blogs. What triggered me was the casual statement that a lot of millennials who identified themselves as "creatives" find Seedly too dry for their tastes. For the past few days, I wanted to troll the heck out of millennial readers on this blog, but I stopped myself because there are plenty of losers in my own generations too.

It's so easy for Gen-X to caricature Millenials as avocado-toast-eating, bubble-tea-drinking people who get offended easily when you do not support their pet causes like alternative lifestyles, inequality and environmental awareness. I should not forget that it was my own generation that read BigO magazine, attended tea parties at Fire disco,  sniffed glue at void decks, and fapped to the pages FHM. (I'm at least responsible for one of those things mentioned)

But I also need to light the candle instead of cursing the darkness. Taking a page from the Worker's Party, I've decided to take the high road and see whether there are ways for Millenials to save themselves on the financial front.

I think the secret for Millenials ( as well as slowpokes in Gen-X) is that developing financial knowledge is like muscle training. You need to start slow and ease yourself into successively more difficult mediums of instruction, if you jump immediately to read Seedly, you will be demoralised and will lose faith in your ability to build up your financial muscle.

So here's what I think a good glide-path would look like:

a) Start with The Woke Salaryman

I think the Woke Salaryman is probably the best thing that evolved out of the web in recent days. Missing in the blogosphere is a nice webcomic that is a little bit like The Oatmeal that makes financial knowledge easily digestible. Starting out by reading this comic is the easier thing to do because the comic is even easier to understand than following, say, DC Comic's Doomsday Clock.

I predict the founders will make a lot of money if they aren't already raking in cash, thus vindicating essential value creatives have to provide in Singapore.

b) Read The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason

I see only one weakness in following The Woke Salaryman - that deeper ideas in finance are hard to express in comic form. So you can't just stop there, you need to develop your skills further.

So the second step in your journey in to read The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason that is the simplest personal finance book to read that takes away all the bullshit such as those found in the purple series of popular finance book on the shelves.

I admit this is a hard stage to pass as most young folks these days are easily distracted and may not be able to digest a long-form medium like a book, but you need to try if you wish to level up further.

c) Read Christopher Tan's Money Wisdom: Simple Truths for Financial Wisdom

Suppose you have taken these two steps, you still have a problem because all the concepts you have picked up so far cannot be put in a local context. Christopher Tan's Money Wisdom allows you to contextualise all your financial know-how into actual products you can find in Singapore. Christopher Tan is not alone in this genre, books by Lorna Tan can also be read for the same reasons.

d) FB forums like Seedly

After reading Christopher Tan, I think you are ready to delve into Seedly as a portal for financial knowledge.

Like many portals, Seedly is still a hunting ground for many financial advisors, so I have deliberately selected Christopher Tan's book as a vaccine against paid commissioned advisors before jumping into a portal like Seedly. At least when you face a financial advisor, you have the means of self-defense against their financial sophistry.

e) The more accessible blogs like SG Budget Babe and Jeraldine Pneah

At this stage, you will also find that reading the more accessible blogs will start paying dividends to you. I might be a little biased, but the better beginner blogs are helmed by female bloggers. You can start with Budget Babe and Jeraldine Pneah.

Both blogs feature some amount of investing but they mostly discuss career and lifestyle issues faced my Millenial audiences. I placed blogs after Seedly because you need some savviness to navigate the occasional sponsored article.

f) The contents of this blog and even my investment training programs are still quite far away even if you complete all earlier stages

I maintain this blog for my own pleasure and indulgence so the stuff contained within can be hard-core. Even my course may not be suitable for many Millenials as they are intended for folks who want to begin their evolution into a serious retail investor.

To push yourself further along the glide path, you may reach an important milestone and even be able to enjoy Investment Moats by Kyith Ng. At this stage, you might also be ready to tackle a book like Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. Just make sure you have a brokerage account set up by this stage.

As Millenials do not face the kind of youth unemployment in the West, I strongly believe that they are not doomed to a life of living with their parents, getting triggered, putting up online petitions, playing console games and fapping to non-English versions of Pornhub.  I think there is ample room to participate and benefit from Capitalism in Singapore.

Maybe instead of getting triggered or offended by others on the web, you can channel your angst into developing money management skills with this glide-path.

Hopefully, if I am still alive in about 20 years and when you grow old, I wouldn't use you as a negative example to browbeat my own kids.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I think that the simple way is to avoid debt at all cost. This will alleviate the hassle of having to service the debts. No doubt, this will have some implication for the millenials who intend to get married and start a family. I guess that one has to make form of sacrifice in order to be prudent in the finance.