Friday, November 4, 2016

瞒天过海 as my preferred self-preservation strategy

Being a Facebook user, I am observing more of my friends/peers/juniors taking an interest in personal finance. In my news feed, I see more of them liking the pages of personal finance websites as well as sharing articles on personal finance with one another.

I think that is a good thing. It is good to pursue self-education in the arena of personal finance which, in turn, would set them up with a better foundation in their lives.

However, I'm not going to talk about that group today. Instead, I will be talking about some other interesting folks who, through those online channels, stumble upon investing and made some profits off the stock market and have to broadcast their winnings on social media.

First up, we have our "income investor." Having stumbled onto income investing, he attended an income investing course and applied what he had learned from the course. Upon receiving his first distribution income from REITs, he had to photograph his bank transaction statement and upload it on Facebook, tagging and thanking his teachers in his post, as well as commenting that "I got free money from investing." Quickly, friends descended on him, asking for lunch/dinner treats, and commenting on their luck in having a rich friend. This is not a one-off incident by the way.

Next, we have the hotshot trading couple. After attending a trading course, hotshot couple was eager to apply what they have learned in the stock market. With a 2-year profitable track record, hotshot couple began posting some not-so-nice stuff on Facebook, even once openly denigrating an institutional investor which we all are familiar with. Every so often, he will post a stock chart with a smiley face, fishing for the comments of others. Lately, the couple commented that profits are harder to come by.....

Next up, we have our "value investor." "Buy Low, Sell High" and "Hunting for value" are some of the catch phrases she used. What intrigued me was her underlying thinking behind her recent buy call on Facebook: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 explode --> recall product --> revenue drops --> share price drop --> value stock.

Out of curiosity, I searched for Samsung's share price. The display is set to 5 years.

Well, the price did dive recently. But I wouldn't call Samsung a value stock. 

Also, Samsung phones happens to be in vogue now. You'll never know when they might go the way of Nokia or Blackberry. I have neither the competency in evaluating such companies nor am I keen to become dependent on the vagaries of consumer preferences.

What about the fundamentals? 

Cash flow from operations is decreasing/okaaayy. Intangibles are growing....Nah. Not my cup of tea. I'll pass.

Finally, we have the "investment" guy. I don't know him personally but a friend working in another company used him as an example of what not to say when introducing yourself on your first day of work. "Investment" guy is an intern whose interest/hobby is investing, as investing allows him to live the high life, fund his wanderlust, as well as to retire early. Following "investment" guy's sharing, my friend shared that the meeting room burst out into "oooo", "waaah", "rich kid", "investment siol!", etc.

Readers, I'm not sure what you think of these examples. As a private person (more so when it comes to investing), I think that these expressions are over-the-top. Furthermore, I think that there might be consequences for such expressions.

Look at how quickly people descended on "income investor," suggesting for catch-up sessions in order to get free meals. Now it becomes way harder to distinguish real friends from the false.

Would it be to your advantage if your bosses know that you could "quit anytime" because you are trying to achieve FF/FI (or whatever "retirement" term you use)? You could be perceived as "less dedicated" than your peers, even if that may not be the case.

Why should the company give you increment and bonuses when you are "so rich already?" Hmm.

When there are lay-offs in a recession, who is more likely to get retrenched? The diligent breadwinner who is supporting multiple kids or the young single who shares about the free money that he or she receives from the stock market? I'm sure the bosses' compassion would be directed towards the former.

Don't forget to take into account human envy. If your bosses are ones that did not manage their personal finances well in their youths, your success sticks up like a sore thumb, reminding them of "what could have been" if they had recognized the importance of proper financial management in their early years and have acted on them.

As for myself, nothing to see here. Move along now. I'm just 瞒天过海-ing. I'm just a regular unintelligent nerd who only knows how to work hard, study, and learn. Simi is investing? Can eat one?


  1. U.N : Looks like you are new "kid" on the blog! All roads lead to Rome, find your preferred way and keep going :-)

    1. Hi Richard,

      Yup, I'm the new kid on the blog. Thanks for the welcome :)

    2. LOL Uncle rich , i wanted to type out that not only one road leads to rome.... now have to think of other term to use liao.... it's not *inserts name of person or XXX here * 's way or the highway! Most importantly , need to have fun! No point being miserable with a plump bank account :p

  2. When we reach financial independence we have FU$ or No Thanks$ to quit. Why are we still worry what our bosses think of us? Are we still concern over annual increment and bonuses?

    1. Hi Uncle CW,

      Yup, once we achieved FF/FI, we do not need to worry over annual increment and bonuses. But for those who are just starting out, it would be prudent not to show hand since we still have a very long way to go.

  3. Unintelligent Nerd,

    You have some "interesting" thinking that I would like to take the opposite side of your "trade" - so to speak ;)

    1. Put yourself in the shoes of a business owner. As a land owner, all I care is whether my shepherd can help me Earn more or Save more for me.

    2. If my competent shepherd is well off, I have to pay more in increments and bonuses to retain his services. Just look at how companies reward top management ;)

    3. And if I know my brilliant general can leave anytime he wants, I have to work doubly hard to think of "incentives" to retain his services!

    4. When I'm in deep shit as a land owner, I'll get rid of deadwood and freeloaders; retain only those who can - make a guess? Yes! Those who can help me Earn more and Save more! Compassion and charity only work when a company is doing well.

    As for envy, this one I agree with you 100%!

    Never ever outshine your boss!


    1. Hi SMOL,

      Thanks for sharing your insights. I think that is called “substance?” If the person has it, the ball will be in their court. :)

  4. 不是猛龙不过江! Here's wishing u all the best for your looooong fullfilling journey ahead!

    Oh ya , random qn , you fit into any categories of abovementioned investor / trader types or rojak ?


    1. Hi Ken,

      Apologies for the late response. My email did not notify me of your comment.

      Haha thanks! All the best in your journey too.

      I've been a follower of your blog as well. Was wondering where you have been.

      I'm an income-rojak-STI ETF investor.....for now :)

  5. Nice post! We have very similar social circles. I also have friends who know that you have some knowledge of investing and want to do investing themselves, and try to leech some information of you. It is very hard for me to explain it to them sometimes that having more savings first is by far the most essential step before wanting to "get rich" from the stock market. There is just so much that you can do :(

    1. Hi Sze Min,

      I understand. :(

      Easy way out? Direct them to finance bloggers. Kekeke