Thursday, May 18, 2023

Personal Update

It's time for another personal update since I am in the middle of graduating from ERM's 30th batch of students and want to leave the heavier stuff for next week.

a) Left the Government Healthcare orbit

I've finally decided that the best option to manage my health would be to pay more and transition into private healthcare. I've since learnt that there have been many lapses in my diabetic and hyperactive thyroid management. According to records, the government system stopped monitoring my thyroid levels about 9 years ago and mixed two diabetic medications that would not ordinarily be administered together by the private sector. Consultations have also been draggy with long waits thanks to a really horrible IT system roll-out in TTSH. 

While I still respect government healthcare for being cheap and affordable, I no longer have the energy to read up and micromanage my own ailment to constantly be on the watch for lapses. At the end of the day, I'm not a medical professional and can't keep second-guessing whoever is providing medical care for me.

There are serious consequences when I make this decision because to maintain a low cost of management, I will have to spend more time getting medication from "cheaper sources". This means spending more time on bus 950. Government pharmacy dispensaries do not entertain prescriptions from the private sector. 

b) With my thyroid problems under control, I need to finish my story on regular employment

It felt weird to start legal practice feeling tired even at 9am in the morning after fighting normal traffic. I also did not do well canvassing files for my business. This will remain one of the most monumental and humiliating failures in my career, but at least I know that my energy levels were out of whack not because of middle age, but because I was ill.

But now with my thyroid hormones under control, I can take a long walk in the mornings, go for a swim in the afternoons, and then have enough energy to attend SME conferences.

While I'm going to look after my health moving forward, I should continue to pursue a full-time gig if the opportunity shows up. I was discussing with the FI telegram group that I am not like them. INTJs can just find more exotic interests and leave a trail of hobbies in their wake after financial independence. If an ENTJ like me is not working on getting more Money or more Power, we will languish. I still have an interview going on since early this year and see this as a good opportunity to finally push my CPF-SA to ERS levels. The bear market is also making it very lucrative to hold multiple gigs to stocks at a ridiculous discount.

Maybe 2023 is the year I succeed in doing well in multiple gigs.

c) ERM and the new All-Weathering Investment course is going to proceed

Even though I may entertain the idea of returning to regular employment, I am going to put in a lot of effort to launch my new course which will take place in August. We are aggressively going to push forward the new preview by the end of May. There are so many questions I want to answer about my new course as some folks are asking whether I am trying to become the next Ray Dalio. 

To make way for so many priorities, ERM Batch 31 will be delayed slightly to October for us to see whether my new ETF-based program has any legs to move. An investment course centred on computer code will be the first of its kind here. 

d) Markets will get worse before they get better

If you get a gig wearing a maid outfit but need to regularly get slapped by your mistress for $27k a month, this is the right time to do it. 

Market equity risk premiums are exceeding high and may even hit 2020 pandemic levels if China remains sluggish. This can generate a one-year discount window to just keep buying equities until recovery can be seen. The probability of Singaporeans entering a technical recession is no longer low. 

There is also the US debt ceiling wreaking havoc on Singapore portfolios right now. 

A safe factor to invest in would be to focus on value.

e) Reading and hobbies

I hope to be sharing more books I am reading as I've recently been reading fairly decent books. I have a podcast coming up talking about generational differences, but I felt it was really bantering without informed research, when the podcast arrives, I will be putting up an article to supplement it here. 

As for gaming, I no longer see myself as an active participant, but a distant observer. I will still go to games bazaars this June and will read RPG rule books as a hobby. As I enjoy training people, all my residual effort will be put into my jobs instead. In particular,  I am obsessed with all the latest playtesting documents of the D&D ruleset.

I still buy abstract board games to play with my kids.

All in all, 2023 has not been going my way, but now at least I have a handle on my health problems and can make headway to restore part of my revenues. The struggle will still go on and if I play my cards well, I can be rewarded when the economy recovers. 

f) Friends

There are times when I wish I had more friends to have a coffee with. I have regular friends but they are busy, so my newfound energy needs to be directed somewhere and I still put a huge premium on good conversation.

As I have emphasised before, Early Retirement is a networked good. It's only useful if more people around you are Early Retired. Waiting for your friends to retire is like watching the paint dry. 

But what I realise is that my students form an extended acquaintance network. Beginning next week, I will begin to promote a gathering of ERM Alumni quite aggressively, just to see how my students are doing in this nasty bear market. 


  1. Toldcha few yrs ago to hedge ur diabetic costs with NVO...

    32 yrs stock performance

    Up 22% in 2022 when s&p down 19%

    Lots of diabetic people & hollywood actors / pop stars trying to stay slim haha.

    LLY is also strong contender with mounjaro...

  2. Nice to see you've recovered!