Updated: Sep 28
I do not often do personal updates. This is because this blog has always been geared towards:
1) Adding Value for Readers/Clients
2) Drawing in New Potential Prospects
I haven’t seen a lot of evidence that talking about my own life excessively will make subscribing to Money Maverick worthwhile.
But for (1), it is important that the people following this understand that unfortunately, my clients come first.
When I talk about benefits and ideas, my clients gain the majority of the benefits while readers basically have to suck it up. My clients have added value from the execution of ideas and they pay me for said execution.
So this article is a bit more geared towards my existing clients.
Still, if you are reading this - I hope that you’re interested enough in Money Maverick – as a reader – to get a glimpse of what’s going on.
1) Investing and Investments
I made a message for my clients to reassure them, and reasonably so. Aside from my retirees, most of my clients have taken an aggressive approach to investing.
Last year, clients at the beginning of 2019 made anywhere between 26% to 44% net of fees. Naturally, clients who entered later made a bit less, especially at certain points in 2019 where there were exceptional highs. This time round, regardless of entry - everyone's results have been wiped.
This includes myself personally, and it hasn't been easy from an emotional standpoint. Not just to see my own hard earned money decline, but to see it in my clients.
There are two assurances:
The V-Bounce is basically historical records of sharp, high rebounds - after a bear market.
There are some obvious theories behind timing the market - so a good market timer would switch to defensive or cash, wait for the price to drop and switch back.
Talk is cheap once the chips are down. But if the market had fallen only 20% and I had switched out my clients by then, it would have been disastrous.
You can read more about it right here, below - but that's partly why I'm not too worried about this current market, since my aggressive clients are genuinely committed to their long term goals.
There are some theories as to why the first year return is usually disproportionately higher than the subsequent years of the run, mostly due to greed sentiment kicking back in and major companies buying up smaller companies in bulk.
For my clients, most of them have had the option to DCA into the market following what is going on - and their dividends reinvested, if any.
b) Sharpe Ratios, Return-Risk Ratios
These two ratios are a little different, but the important thing for my clients is that there should have higher returns and lower risks than market investors.
Obviously there are equity correlations, but at the time of measurements I've typically found that the fund choices are holding up better than the indices.
So you can see from the pictures above that even though there's a correlation, the funds lose less (and have a history of gaining more) than the index. To be fair to all the Warren Buffett Index-Only people, it's statistically true for efficient markets that fund managers tend to experience more out-performance during bear markets, so this may not be an impressive feat.
It's not capturing the market upside that worries me, but that's unlikely to be the case for the kind of funds that they're invested in.
I continue to have confidence for the future.
2) Corona Virus and Business
Some of you may have noticed that Money Maverick had a huge gap in original content for the entire month of February. Readership actually took a substantial hit by the 3rd week, where it became evident that I wasn’t working on the blog.
I am really sorry.
AS you can see from above, my priorities have to be with my clients and my business. During this time, there was a sharp decline in people who wanted to have extended interaction with me. This is reasonable, seeing as I work in the most crowded areas and travel all over the country.
After digging around a bit, I noticed clients were fairly satisfied with preliminary discussions through the phone or tele-conferencing.
My brain did not go on decline just because of the virus, but even when I was seeing clients non-stop, business was still slower simply due to operations.
I’m sure that if we accumulate the time spent on filling out forms and having our temperature taken, we would see a substantial loss in our time – let alone how it actually affects serious business dealings.
I had to focus on keeping the business afloat, keeping clients calm and having my own house in order. For that, I apologize to any loyal readers for not being able to add value to your time.
I’m working hard to change that.
I talked a little about MDRT recently.
So if it wasn’t clear, I... Got it.
I’m an MDRT qualifier now. Top 6% of consultants in the world.
To be honest, I’ve been a little disillusioned since I received the award.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I really don’t. My clients are super supportive and I love that.
I love them. And I work really, really hard.
But I couldn’t help but notice that it hasn’t really changed very much about me except the way people look at me, and it feels mostly negative.
Already as a Maverick, it’s a little tricky dealing with controversy. But for an award winner, people to treat me more… Superficially.
Some of the people in my life have stopped judging my career, or sending me messages about what I could do instead.
I didn’t work less hard before I had this award. I wasn’t trying to serve any less before.
I win an award that tells you roughly how much I make, and suddenly I’m not like – a failure, or my job is a real job after all?
Suddenly I’m worth talking to and not ignored at social functions or you actually feel like you can ask me about money despite talking about it for years?
[Although sure, I should probably have tried harder to get this award earlier or something.]
It’s really, really strange - and I’m trying to deal with it.
Am I just crazy here? Should I just shut up and be okay with this?
In any case, I was feeling very mixed about it, so I talked to some people and put together my article on ‘Director of Sales’ here, which I think is an achievement I would have more pride it and aspire for. You can read about it below.
I dunno. I really hope people don’t think I’ve changed. I’m still really easy to message and ask Financial Advice from.
As long as you’re intentionally not an idiot – not having knowledge is not something anyone should fault you for.
4) Videos and Speaking
Some of you have also noticed the videos. While promoting them to some degree, I have intentionally not released them on Money Maverick yet.
I also recently gave a talk at Prudential.
From yesterday, I have been advised to hold off my other talks till further notice, but once things clear up - I will be giving talks at both Great Eastern and Promiseland, about investing.
Current topics include:
a) Faults in the Efficient Market Theory, as well as SPIVA [Standard and Poor Indices Vs Active]
b) Areas in the market where market out-performance is extremely common - and thus, can help you achieve higher returns
c) Significant considerations for choosing, and creating additional value in your investments.
This is all tip of the iceberg strategies for how I create significant value for my clients.
I am sharing this of course, to improve my reputation, the face of financial advisory in Singapore and of course, for clients to see that they've made the right choice in how their consultant thinks and acts.
As clients who I am accountable to, some of you may be wondering why I’m derping around with such things.
Of course, I could still use the new clientele, and I would like it if people trusted my brand enough to tune into my content regularly – and eventually the people under me as well.
That would be the long-term plan, but the truth is – I realized that I had some personal fears to overcome.
Public speaking and video appearances have always been exceptionally hard for an introvert like myself, even now. But I know the best way to reach out and benefit new prospects is through this, so I'm praying that I'll learn to be brave.
5) Servicing, Fears and Feelings
1) Are we in a recession?
2) Should I stop investing?
3) How do I know I can trust this advice?
4) What else can I do now?
Most of my clients have received a newsletter about these many questions, and more (from a 26 minute transcription which was a total disaster and cost me like almost $100+ to get on paper) which addresses all these with the relevant facts and figures, as well as my thoughts.
Emailing lists and broadcast systems and group chats have all come into play, and I've taken many calls since disseminating the information.
Most of their fears and feelings are resolved - I hope. If there's one thing good about the virus, its forced me to realize that my servicing standards are nowhere close to where I could bring them to.
This time forced me to improve my service, and if I'm completely honest...there's a decent chance I may NEVER HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT IT if things hadn't been so dire. I tend to do very one to one stuff with my clients, but as the number of clients racks up I feel like there would be a huge gap of them neglected if I'm not careful.
Much reflection needs to be done once business stabilizes.
I've done some writing ahead of time so that I can take my break soon, so I hope you guys look forward to my article on Shorting. I think its long overdue.
As for a break... As you know, Manow is in Thailand - and I am here.
It's difficult for us. I miss her.
It's not just the inability to travel that is hurting us - but the virus affects our lives.
When business is bad for both of us - whether its the development of her house, sales in a public market (clothes and food), deliveries - all her stuff has slowed down, which means she needs to work harder.
Its the same for me. The last few weeks have been pretty brutal, and I haven't taken a break in weeks. So the distance was bad enough, but we barely even ahve time to call each other.
When my San Francisco trip was cancelled - an opportunity to take a break, do some reading/writing, see my sister - I foolishly invested my holiday money out of frustration.
I had planned on using the excess cash to see Manow before my sister's wedding, and it clearly isn't happening.
[I am not remorseful about the action as a bad investment, but rather that I genuinely believe that the money should have been channeled towards rest and recovery so that I can run the business in an optimal manner.]
So Money Maverick will likely be taking a prolonged vacation from the 11th to the 15th at least, to simulate what should have been my rest and recovery.
By the 11th of April, it will have been roughly 2 months since my last break [I consider weekends a break, so since I haven't had one - I've basically worked 8 straight weeks in a row]...
...And if my head hasn't exploded by then, I'll probably really need the time off. I will likely be staying alone, hopefully in a nice hotel (I really haven't thought this out) but I'm pretty open to recommendations about ideas on things to do or ways to relax. It will be pretty jarring without my girlfriend with me, but I could learn to relax on my own, I guess. As for the rest, I'd love to see what I can do for you. If you're experiencing problems or fears with the market currently, or you're looking for safer options, unsure whether to sell or anything of that kind, I'm always at your disposal. Money Maverick
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