I am writing this while at home, having incapacitated myself to some degree from overwork.
Yes, I really am that stupid.
I can tell you the financial history of any sector or geography, and how they balance each other out in a portfolio - but I can't seem to get 6 hours of sleep a night. Sorry for making you guys worry. I'm trying harder.
Articles like this potentially reflect badly on myself. It is often in such articles, rather than hard topic ones, that people make opinions of me both personally and professionally.
But from the very beginning, this blog has been a personal one - despite my love for Finance - and it's important for me to document such things fully and honestly.
There's been some things that I've been thinking about since the last time I wrote a business article, as well as some things that I've experienced.
...I will be skipping things like professional accomplishments, because they have been highlighted all year.
On Your Superiors and Authorities
I was promised by Head of Compliance that a personal blog like this one would be left alone, but recently I had to go through another round of speaking to higher authorities.
Apparently, I have been reported to MAS every single day for the last 4 months, by the SAME PERSON. Whoever is trying to kill me is extremely persistent and is probably reading this even now.
As a result, Compliance had no choice but to 'bring me in for questioning'.
Because absolutely none of these unfounded complaints have worked in sabotaging my career, it was laughable until I found out the intensity of how much this person wants me dead. It's a lot to take in - the idea that I've warranted so much hatred from one individual.
Every day for 4 months is an obsession, a strong personal malice. No one else has the patience otherwise.
I'm sure XiaXue gets death threats, but I didn't expect Money Maverick to even come anywhere close to the level where someone wants you dead personally and professionally. It's just my blog, for crying out loud.
So...I am not laughing anymore. This much, this evil person has at least accomplished.
My only clue of this person is that he/she clearly doesn't make a lot of money, or have anyone who loves him/her, otherwise they would do better things with their time.
Sadly, that's a good description of most of my haters, so there's no narrowing it down.
My fear is that MAS can be annoyed into taking action against me, even though all this person has done is take screenshots out of context. Some of the complaints made against me are so weak that it amazes me that they were even noted for a record at all.
Completely ludicrous and unfounded.
As you can see, the arguments are so weak-ass that only an authority figure without an ounce of common sense would consider taking it seriously just because of the high frequency of reports.
That is why I've been allowed to operate as normal.
But yes, it's been quite a pain. I'm not exactly recognized on the streets, which at least might make all this worthwhile if I had the raving fan base to go with the insane hating stalker.
It certainly feels like not managing it well might get in the way of work, if I'm honest. So I'm making sure it doesn't happen.
Unfortunately, there is simply no way to figure out who is out to kill me with a fake number and email address.
For the most part, a reporting system where I can keep getting anonymously complained about without the ability to discredit my aggressor is totally _________ stupid.
In relation to superiors, if you have any in business - or primary investors, you really want to see how far they will go for you. I'm starting to get that the answer in my current environment is 'Not Very Far'.
Because I am not primarily a businessman, my initial take was that you should roll with the person who supports you the most financially.
As I've aged, that seems to have changed a lot.
Even if you are in the 'losing position' - being the person who borrows investor's capital and not the other way round - you still want to work with people who believe in you and are willing to support you in some forms, not just the money. I would have understood this earlier if I had watched a bit more Shark Tank.
Having seen how my business and my brand has been treated in the last one and a quarter years, I've gotten an idea of what kind of superiors I need in my life -
a) whether my current ones have to evolve, or
b) whether I need new ones to build my business to the best it can be
After all, a Business evolves and they do what they have to. Whether its Seed Rounds or renegotiations or what not.
As for Compliance - I've spoken to my Compliance Department numerous times over the last year and a quarter and oftentimes I've found myself butting heads with them until recently.
Perhaps it takes a clear indication of a personal attack like this before I finally got things like 'benefit of the doubt'.
That being said, they deserve a ton of credit for putting up with both crap from the complaints as well as crap from me all this time. This last round of questioning was especially pleasant and considerate, and I feel like we're finally on the same page.
It may be too late, though.
On Kerri, My New Administrative Manager
Kerri has been with me only a few weeks doing most things that I don't like to do but realized was taking up a big chunk of my time.
Because she doesn't have her license yet (which she's already getting), she knocked out all the work that I'd backlogged for months...before being relegated to stupid crap like
a) Booking my Wild Wild Wet tickets
b) Transcribing for my Book, that I'm writing for Money Maverick Prestige
c) Sorting through my Receipts
d) Printing things that I think I'll read which I probably won't
It turns out that while I was in need of a full timer, prior to her getting her license - I really only need her for 15 - 25 hours in a week. Sometimes less.
By the time she addresses the majority of the PDPA stuff and follows me around for other things, I'll only need her for 25 - 40 hours a week, maximum. Probably less.
Most business owners would probably only hire such full time help if they were overwhelmed by a lot more. For myself, perhaps I overestimated how efficient someone can be when they don't have multi-roles like myself...
...because Kerri only needs to fully focus on admin, she actually completes Administrative Work faster than I do. I trained her for a couple of days, have had her for like 3 weeks and I've been doing admin crap for over 4 years. Go Figure.
Even now as I type this, poor Kerri is working behind me trying to be really useful, but I know she's run out of essential work assignments that I gave her that won't violate PDPA.
Now she's literally picking out my most photogenic photos for the company from my Facebook for an article on me. It's such a waste of her operational ability.
So I do see that Kerri smiles a bit more and answers messages from her boyfriend a bit more than the first two weeks, but for the most part I don't really mind since she wraps up all my crap when I ask her to, and on time. Can't really complain about the quality of her work either. I think I had the good fortune of continually experiencing frustration when my supervisor back during my internship 8 years ago kept mouthing off at me - even though I would finish assignments hours, or days in advance.
So Kerri can really do whatever she wants as long as she gets work done. This is one of the few things I actually know how to do as a new employer. That being said, most days I find myself trying to come up with excuses for why I'm presently not maximizing the hours I have her on for, so...lesson learnt.
I'll be using Kerri as a strong benchmark for future hires - that not everyone will be so wildly untalented as me administratively, and I may not need so many hours from them.
I am really fortunate that Kerri is quite committed, focused and efficient - and I imagine it'll be quite hard for future hires to follow suit. I hope this lull period doesn't spoil her though.
On Erdem and The Other Kids
I have other kids who are taking papers now - my personal favorite, Joyce - is the one who I have the least Face-time with, sadly.
I think the reason I can say that (I have a favorite) so blatantly is because she's the one who wants to work with me the most by far, while everyone else still appears to be 50 or 60% onboard at best. My transparent nature has also made it clear that I have a vested interest in their performance and they're welcome to leave any-time if they don't want to get with the program.
Personally, I'm a big believer of hard work and I have a way I want things done to breed responsibility towards clients, and gratitude for business. You can't work smart from the get go unless you have resources, and it tends to make for spoiled rich kids anyway.
So I spent a lot of my time worrying about them, but especially Joyce - in relation to what she will specialize in and why, and how to really take control of her career and give her a better life.
Honestly, this girl is a little rough around the edges, but I'm a big fan of her, and her partner - and they both deserve the world.
As for Erdem, recently we haven't been spending as much time together. But he does run his more...interesting, ideas by me.
For every 10 shots (ideas) he takes I usually shoot down like 8 of them, with as much love as possible (because I remember what its like to be young and creative). Usually its because they're expensive, impractical, non-compliant or a PR nightmare.
That's actually a very good ratio already. The 9th idea will make me facepalm and I'll surprise myself by considering a workable variant in the shower days later, while the 10th idea is something executable but requires a lot of hard work on his part and support on mine.
At one point a week ago, I was worried that Erdem had peaked early, but truthfully there's still many things that he needs to learn. A lot.
Much like myself, I guess I've underestimated both how much more there is to learn as well as our capacity for learning. And when I hear about how excited he is for creating value for clients, or how much he laments cases where he wish he knew more or did more, I am very encouraged and heartened. I'm actually very, very proud of him, for constantly putting client interests before himself, no matter how hard or tempting it could be for a rookie to do otherwise.
On My Clients
I don't think my clients could have a better year than the year they've had me with this year. The irony of Covid bothers me a little, but I put in so much effort in the job of actually dispensing and applying Financial Advice more than any other year.
For many years, a lot of online talk got to me - saying that our fees were overpriced etc. I couldn't pretend that I was immune to it. But when crap hit the fan, I was there for my clients and I took action, and I got them through things that there was little chance they would have been able to handle on their own.
And I know there was a vast quantitative value well worth the fees that I'd been charging.
I don't know how to express this. To go quite a few years in the industry second-guessing yourself because of how critical can be about insurance agents online, about how useless or scammy they think we are. But people chose me, and I tried what I could not to let them down, and it paid off for them all year.
Sometimes it still boggles me.
Like - this is what I was really getting paid for. THIS. Not to be an investment specialist or pure sales - but because the things that I said and if you followed it created massive financial value and avoided huge financial losses.
No chance, especially not this year - with vast, vast outperformance.
So...baseless critics can really shove themselves somewhere. =)
I think the biggest issue with my business this year was not the technical aspects of continually improving Client Value (which I love) - but the speed, dissemination and making people feel assured.
I have a tendency to get lost in my own head - and be insistent that clients trust me and leave me alone without addressing their fears correctly whilst I'm solving the problem.
I think some people were more forgiving after a generous client appreciation meal, but I can't pretend that I couldn't have done a lot better administratively to put people at ease while I create hard value for them.
So that's why I've hired help and begun to scale, after all - but I hope people will be patient with me during these rocky adjustments, especially with my limited experience as a full time employer.
I really do love you guys. And I want what's best for you all, both personally and financially.
On My Personal Life
For all the crap that has been put on my plate professionally, God has been so good to me this year personally.
I haven't had as much opportunity to spend time with my Dad as I would like, and recently my brother - but I was able to afford our cruise next year, so I think there will be plenty of dedicated time for them.
I think one of the bright sides of the pandemic is that us boys did spend a bit more time driving around and buying food for everyone else, and it was really nice for a while.
I'll probably segregate some time for Anna as well, though I've admittedly been putting it off because I was honestly quite distraught about being unable to be in the US this year as planned. I still am, but its no excuse.
Schedule wise has been more manageable - for family dinners. My Mum, as usual, has been a strong and consistent pillar in my life.
Rach and Wen are constant, and of course, the smallest one.
Some clients and I have really bonded a lot over our shared pains in the pandemic. Other clients have enjoyed watching my evolution from the beginning.
As a result, rather than professionally - I spend a lot more personal time with some of my clients - and surprisingly, I don't hate talking about their personal lives or sharing mine. It wasn't that long ago that I dreaded this.
I also found an Among Us group of Christians and friends, which has been a strong source of emotional and spiritual support. If you told me that I could be this happy a few years ago in this profession, I would have not believed you.
Of course, I miss Manow. With her stuck in Thailand and me being stuck here from Covid, I haven't held her hand in almost a year.
We missed going to the US together, and Valentine's Day, both our birthdays and our anniversary. Its pretty rough.
I spent some of what would have been travel money on a new motorcycle for her. It wasn't expensive, less than $2000.
It keeps her a lot safer and its better than the deathtrap we used to ride around on when we were poorer and thinner, which would literally stall in the middle of a crowded road and people would horn at us, and ride around us.
As a partner, that's all I really know how to do at this point - whatever I can do to keep her safe and happy.
In light of that, I guess getting reported to MAS over 120 times the last half a year wasn't enough to really damage my spirits. Definitely stings a bit, but it's a round of persistency.
And I wrote this to cement my belief that integrity and honesty is what will breed a successful business.
That I have flaws and I can admit them - and that people will still give me a shot in spite of my imperfections. It's better than pretending otherwise. By writing this, I'm demonstrating the extent of my faith and that belief. I believe in you. All of you. I'd rather die professionally than be wrong about this.
Money Maverick is a Licensed Financial Consultant with MAS, who specializes in Investments and Critical Illness Insurance.
As one of the Top Financial Bloggers in Singapore (Feedspot, Withcontent.co), I would be happy to answer any emails and questions you may have, as I have been doing for my readers over the past few years - especially about Insurance and Investing, as it is my forte of personal and professional knowledge.
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The views on his blog are strictly of his own opinion and have no affiliation to any of the companies he works with.
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4) Spending and Saving: The Biggest Spending Mistakes You DIDNT Even Know you were Making (and how to avoid them)
5) Job Assessment: A Case Study on How a $6k/mth GIrl makes MUCH more money than a $10k/mth Guy
6) Financial Optimization: How I Avoid the Largest 'Fees' of All