Monday, December 07, 2020

Social Escorts can benefit from learning about FIRE


As it is the holiday season,  I've decided to change my reading diet into something less dry. I've chosen to read one of my favourite local authors - Gerrie Lim. Gerrie Lim wrote Invisible Trade, a book on the sex trade in Singapore, that still holds the record for the best selling book by a local author in Singapore. 

Scarlet Harlot in many ways updates the developments in the sex trade for the new Millenial generation. Even though some things about the oldest profession has not changed much, social media and streaming have changed in industry tremendously. 

I'm not very sympathetic to the lady author because she is young, foolish and so full of contradictions. She seems to think that she has more honour than her colleagues because she is less of a gold digger than them. Worse, she's fine in an open relationship but goes apeshit when her boyfriend invests emotionally in another woman. Relationship wise, I do not see any happy ending for her because she's bad at picking men.  

From a financial perspective, the book did leave one thing hanging. The author believes that by the time the book is published, she would have graduated and would have been out of the profession but the astute reader would have reasons to doubt this. Would an ordinary job really be able to sustain the lifestyle of a social escort?

Sex workers and social escorts who are genuine about leaving the profession should seriously consider joining the FIRE movement :

a) Sex work is really competitive

I was not surprised that there is so much bitching within the industry but I was stunned at the amount of competition. In the workplace, some engineers may get an MBA to get ahead. Social escorts need to continuous upgrade with plastic surgery. I expect this to come with some amount of physical danger. 

Doing cosmetic surgery should be analysed just like an investment with its ROI. In my opinion, an enhancement such as breast enlargement should only be done if it can lead to higher billings per hour. 

How to measure bang for a buck in plastic surgery is something that I would want to put my data science skills into good use. 

b) Sex work has a short career lifespan

Once again consider the lifespan of an engineering or computer science degree When you start work, technology will keep advancing and your career has a certain lifespan before your tech skills become obsolete. 

In many ways, sex workers have it much worse. I think interest from customers begins to wane in your 30s. An engineer still has some employment value at age 35, a sex worker has much fewer opportunities. In fact, Annabel Chong, a sex worker who put Singapore on the world map, transitioned from sex worker to a software engineer!

As such sex work must pay but must also account for a short career life span. By understanding how FIRE works, a sex worker can start early by replacing her income with something that lasts longer and more predictable. They can also live a more normal lifestyle that if easier to acclimatise to when they leave the industry.

c) Sex worker does get access to financial advice, but from dubious sources

According to the book, agencies bosses seem to encourage their social escorts to save, which I think is good advice, but this leads to the old conflict of interest between the agency boss and the social escort.  Agency bosses would be out of work if their particularly heavy billing staff would become financially independent, so I doubt they would ask their escorts to invest their money. 

This leaves NGOs and social workers to cover up the lack of financial know-how. I can imagine that if AWARE were to look for volunteers to do such good work, they would have ample volunteers. 

I can imagine half the financial blogosphere will be very enthusiastic about helping. 

Anyway, this is a fun trashy read for this holiday season. 

Let it be known that, with this review, now my blog is a strong supporter of Singapore Literature.  


  1. LOL! While this may make for good click-baity headlines or cater to fantasies of uncle otaku-types, social escorts are NOT likely to benefit from learning about FIRE. (Which is very likely immaterial to the otakus as long as they get fringe benefits.)

    This is totally unscientific, but my gut feel is that FIRE'ers require a certain psychological makeup that is rarely, if at all, found in certain professions or way of life. Social escorts being one of them.

    Earning good money versus keeping it/growing passive income require very different mindsets.

  2. I'm cautiously optimistic about social escorts because from a reading of the book, many seem to study business degrees in private universities, so maybe they need a slight nudge to pick up some basics of FIRE.

    I'm more disturbed by the lack of proper system to show them that these options exist. You may have a point about personalities, but I would not underestimate how powerful an idea is.

    I was a spendthrift myself before I figured out that spending it on dividend stocks will allow me to spend more over the long term !