Sunday, March 21, 2021

Channel your "arts brain" for more financial security

An acquaintance was recently outed by Rice Media and Chinese mainstream newspapers as running a vending machine business which led to many unhappy franchisees. You can read the details here.

When I saw the article, I had a short private correspondence with a friend who is a thought leader in Singaporean linguistics and a poet and found that he was also being sold aggressively by our mutual acquaintance. My poet friend said something interesting - he said that he never bought into those schemes because of his "arts brain". Making a living in the Arts constrained him into living life with a level-headed philosophy so he was less vulnerable to get rich quick schemes. 

There are too many ways to deconstruct what an "arts brain" really means when it comes to financial savvy. My educated guess (with my very-limited  "STEM brain") is that living in the arts and cultural realm often means being more prepared for leaner times and being compared against wealthier counterparts in banking, so I guess what emerges from many years of arts and cultural practice is strong resistance to envy and a large reservoir of mental resilience. This mental reserve can be useful in avoiding scams.

This is something folks who are not the Arts should do their best to cultivate. In the investment realm, the challenge for most of us is to ignore the news of folks making it in big in the latest fad of the day. 

( Yesterday it was DeFI, today it is NFTs )

Two examples in literary works contain financial lessons that may be worth more than 10,000 hamburger meals in MacDonalds with your commissioned financial advisor. 

a) Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice understood a man's worth in passive income 

Folks who keep getting ghosted on Tinder would know that classical literary works show that making a demeaning remark to a woman will still allow you to win her over in the end. That is exactly what happened between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. But negging may not be enough...

What is less prominently mentioned in the English Literature study notes is that Mr Darcy derives passive income from his ownership of Pemberly estate, a large estate in Derbyshire England. His passive income, by modern standards, is a pathetic £10,000. Sources on the web translate this to $13M a year! 

Are Pride and Prejudice also the reason why modern men love negging women? I think its almost the same as the Mr Darcy manoeuvre but without the dividends to back up the negging. 

( Incidentally, Pride and Prejudice was the first book I was forced to read as part of some Primary School English reading exercise when I was in Pri 4. )

b) Terry Pratchett's Captain Sam Vimes's Boots theory 

I don't really care that Terry Pratchett is not part of any English Literature syllabus. His works are relevant to the modern world and his observations of human nature are super sharp. 

Captain Sam Vimes is a recurring character in his series on the city of Ankh-Morpork and first showed up in his cop-dramedy series which began with Guards! Guards! One of Captain's most astute observations is celebrated in many financial blogs.

The theory is that what differentiates the rich and the poor is this - The poor need to pay $10 for a pair of boots that spoil easily and needs to be replaced very quickly. The rich, however, can pay $500 for a pair of boots that can last them for life. Over a long period of time, the rich pay far less for boots than the poor. 

As I built up more and more passive income, I started to adopt Sam Vime's theory when it came to using technology even though I'm still a cheapskate when it comes to clothes. 

I find it really hard to leave the Apple ecosystem for my tablets. (I'm still on a 1st generation iPad Pro and it's still getting OS updates !) I also use a Google Pixel phone for at least 4 years before upgrading it to the latest and greatest of that time. Even my laptop is a high-end Microsoft Surface Pro2 that's almost $4,000 a unit.

Hopefully, the pandemic will create a new kind of artist. It was rough being labelled irrelevant, experience revenue and job loss, and then have their religious shrines like the Substation cruelly taken away from them. 

Some will whine and bitch and get upset that the Government don't sayang them. 

But pay attention to those artists that survive or even thrived amidst the pandemic. 

They can teach a lesson or two to the most astute investors. 

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