Wednesday, January 13, 2021

What do we really pass down to our children?

I'm quite happy to read financial blogs from parents that occasionally share their parenting philosophy. 

In many cases, I can't say that I fully agree with their approach because parenting is even more personal than personal finance. Because of negative personal experiences, I also believe that it's really risky for anyone to run on the platform that they have superior parenting approaches. 

Specifically, an acquaintance had a newspaper column on parenting in the 2000s on how she raised her kids but when her daughter was in her teens, she got impregnated by a security guard who worked in the same location as she did. The security guard refused to marry her. So my acquaintance talked candidly about her daughter's decision to become a single parent. The newspaper shut her column down because the authorities do not want to advocate for single parenthood. 

Due to decisions I've made in my life, my kids may have a tough time in Singapore society, so I cannot really be considered a good parent. I summed up the problem like this - Other folks in my generation are assortatively mating to produce GEP kids and their spawn will clog up the academic system which my kids would have to struggle to bash their way through. My kids would need to be extremely strategic and competitive to fight in the future workplace. 

If they fail and end up in the wrong track, the government will make wonderful speeches about public-private sector collaboration to get them hired in some kind of faux-automation job that is relevant to their diplomas where they will just wait to be retrenched over and over again until they die of old age.

Ok, now I got some of you fellow parents suitably depressed, let's review what can really pass on to our spawn :

a) Intelligence

I still think the best attribute to pass onto our kids is Intelligence. If my kids are intelligent, they can harness the power of Quantum Computing to cure cancer. Otherwise, they can go GEP so I can promote it online and can sell my sperm (or my wife's milk) for some extra cash. Even conduct another course on various sexual positions on how to have GEP kids.

The problem is that our kids are, too often, not intelligent enough. There is a wide gulf between a degree from Stanford versus a degree from Stamford. So if they don't make GEP, you have to spend thousands of dollars enriching the tuition industry - with obviously none left to enrich the financial training industry. Which can't be a good thing.

Gen-Z guys need to wise up early to have more Intelligent kids. I think it's too late after the kids are born. Logically, intelligent kids (especially sons) come from Intelligent mums. 

Guys should become sapiosexual. Sapiosexuals are folks who are turned on (sexually) by high Intelligence. I suspect we have at least two Prime Ministers who are sapiosexual.  

So go date a Daughter of Better Age to have smarter kids. Imagine how much you save on tuition and scholarships. 

Just do it lah. Tarhan !

b) Values and Conscientiousness

Last week I asked my daughter who is the most vulgar person in the family. I thought my son would get the vote because he composes songs about his dick at age 5 ( I did not teach him that, but I think I used to do it as a kid too). I was stunned when my daughter said that it was me. 

Children catch onto bad things really easily, so I'm not sure what kind of values I will transmit to my kids. I really want my kids to be competitive though, but they don't get to experience it in a family setting. My son might be a little competitive but he's a sore loser. After he got thrashed in King of Fighter 97 by his sister, he abruptly switched games saying that the game is boring.

If my kids can't be competitive, they should be conscientious and have grit. But my kids don't even have a gritty dad. I'm a quitter for more than the latter half of my professional life. Once I became financially independent, I stopped trying to endure toxic cultures or shitty office environments, I just walk away. This sort of bugs me because somehow, I wonder if my kids can really quit their way to a better life like what I did. 

Also, I suspect that conscientiousness may be genetic and cannot be taught. I also think my daughter is more conscientious than my son. 

What I do know is that moralising does not work and when they become teenagers, they can sense hypocrisy quite easily. I can't tell my kids to play nice and ignore an obvious edge if the academic system is structured to ensure that only a few actually win this society. 

c) Wealth

If you look at it from the perspectives of (a) and (b). Wealth is the easiest thing to transfer, but it generates a different class of problems on its own. Your kid needs a basic level of intelligence and values to manage money correctly so that don't end up destroying themselves with drugs, or ending up a cameo in the Singapore Social Cinematic Universe.

Even so. I depart from other bloggers in that I look forward to an early wealth transfer for both my kids if they meet the right academic targets. I do not subscribe to the philosophy that my kids should be denied wealth so that they will understand the meaning of hard work. My kids need to understand the meaning of a broad-based strategy and how to tap resources only available to other much older adults.  

Also, I don't want my kids to dwell on the stock micro-management track for too long. I needed to do it to FIRE for myself, but my kids do not have although they need to learn how to consult others. While it's not a bad thing for others to fixate on things like BTC or TSLA, but I think it's not how a strategic wealth manager thinks about money and the intergenerational impact of it. 

A nice number like $100,000 at age 18 can allow concepts like asset allocation and risk-reward to be understood over multiple investments. This is the kind of exposure a responsible teenager can have to build a decent portfolio while attending a full-time course. He has an incentive to follow the news and figure out how the world works. This can even expand to maybe $500,000 after doing getting the CFA or MBA. Personally, I've felt that my potential was not reached because I took too long after my CFA to bridge theory and practice. 

Anyway, these are my kids. 

I reserve the right to change my mind as they grow up. 

Don't take this as any form of advice for parenting. 

Better parents than I have failed so dramatically in the public sphere, I sometimes think that having children can be such a bad idea. 




  1. Nice one.

    Deep down inside, this is what I want.

    But I scared... Later I make them go the wrong path. So better stick to the 'right' path.

  2. No parent has a monopoly on ideas. There is no right path given how personal this is.