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?