Whenever I've finished a series of technical articles, such as these:
...What I tend to do is try to write some slightly more casual articles.
If some of those articles were taxing on your brain, imagine mine. I had to read actual white papers with data to hold my stances on controversial articles like that.
So I write casually sometimes, to relax.
Occasionally, you get something nice.
Most times, it just comes out as nonsense.
Before I moved to Rebrand the site, there were actually quite a few articles I never published.
[But I'm open to changing my mind if there's a demand.]
The Reject Pile
1) A Day in The Life of Money Maverick
Quite a few people liked a post where I talked about the extensiveness of my day.
Most Financial Consultants go through a lot behind the scenes. If I had to categorize it at this stage of my career, it would be like:
40% meeting clients
20% backend work
While at the start of my career it was closer to:
20% meeting clients
15% backend work
In any case, to pull a decent income you need to spend a lot of money and time.
Some savvy people (and those who don't like us) would be like - why don't you just get concessions and Grab subscriptions and stuff?
Well - we do all of that.
But if the client lives near the far side of Ang Mo Kio, and you're coming from Pasir Ris where it takes 1 hour and 35 minutes by public transport and you risk showing up as a dishevelled, unprofessional mess, you spend that money.
I also talked about what I did per hour and how I felt and what it was for - it was a 15 hour work day (from about 8 am to 11 plus pm by the time I got home). The Snag:
Obviously, one of the reasons why I didn't put out such specifics was because it was quite a DOWNER of an article, frankly speaking. I felt a little depressed just by looking at it.
I love to understand clients and I would like them to understand me, as well.
But that might have been a bit too much for readers to take.
2) Work 72 Hours a Day Man
This was probably pretty early in 2019, where Jack Ma had recently talked about 996 - 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week.
As a result, many discussions and articles were circulating around topics like work life balance.
One particular article, probably by Vice or something - went semi viral, talking about how hard she worked two jobs to make ends meet as a university graduate but she could barely pay her loan, her rent, etc.
Many of my friends online were sharing this article, so I read it - feeling it might be something I could sympathize with.
But when I saw that the writer hadn't even worked 60 hours a week, I laughed and laughed. It wasn't like she had people she was providing for, either.
60 hours is peanut time, honestly. It's a nothing burger.
I'm not just talking about myself - those consultants who people hate, standing out in the sun or sitting for 10, 12 hours by the MRT stations? How long do you think they work for? The Snag:
So I wrote an article on my opinion on it, quickly realized it would be an unpopular opinion - even more so than my usual stuff - and decided against it.
It's more like a rant, and it sounded very defensive.
Many people are not entrepreneurs or master franchisees. Therefore it's quite reasonable for them to not want to have to work as hard as the people who will eventually make the most profits in the business, if it goes well.
By the same extension, an employee (as we learnt during Covid) is one of the first costs to the business to go. So avoiding a fully fleshed article was likely the better move from backlash.
3) The Defensive Portfolio [Recession Proof]
I was really curious as to how to protect my clients during research. I spent about a week plus on research alone on this matter last year. Bonds are notorious for not behaving like how they used to in the last one, almost two decades or so. Many older people today still assume that they are safer instruments with little correlation to the market. However, this simply isn’t true anymore. ...For the most part.
I did some research and confirmed my findings that detailed the investment bond types over 40 years - and created the Defensive Portfolio.
The Defensive Portfolio is completely recession proof. In every single Recession (and I’ve updated it for Covid 19) in global history, it PERFORMS during said recession.
Yes, you heard that correctly. Not after, like a rebound from Equities, but DURING. For the most part, it also has steady growth even during ‘regular’ times.
...Unfortunately, there’s a reason why nobody puts their investments into something like that. There’s a reason why keen investors don’t put all our money into CPF-OA or SA. While the portfolio didn’t have CPF’s illiquidity, the return was just not attractive. Worse, further backtesting (especially later in the year, where some of this came up organically) showed that a diversified 40% Equities 60% Bonds, with only half of the Defensive Portfolio in said Bonds, had both better medium (3 - 5 years) and long (5 - 10) year results. [Keep in mind that ‘medium’ and ‘long’ are as I am defining it for this scenario.]
I would have to market-time like a genius to achieve only a slightly better result than the diversified portfolio above.
As a result, this portfolio remained rather ineffective unless the clientele was much older, needed liquidity and significantly less deviation.
Amongst my base clientele, which includes many of you guys who are in your 20s, 30s and early 40s - it was near-completely useless to talk about.
4) Chunk Of (An Investment Article)
...I actually realized this might be cool and am working on it now.
It’s basically about explaining context in investments. For example, some people may brag they made 28% in returns last year.
That 28%? That was the SNP500.
But it’s made only an annualized return of 6.06% in the last 20 years, all dividends reinvested and not accounting for charges or withholding tax.
Context is important and I wasn’t able to fluently write about it before, but Covid has given a good opportunity to provide some.
5) Hedged or Non Hedged
I wrote in my Forex Article about how currency can impact your investments quite severely.
For example, in the last 3 years (from when I wrote the article), the Singapore Dollar depreciated against the Thai Baht by 5.2% a year on average. If I had been a Thai citizen who’d invested in SGD 3 years back, I would have been majorly pissed. A 8% return on paper would have been 2.8%.
Most people tend to completely ignore this risk in relation to SGD/USD, especially if they’ve experienced the upside...but it remains a real risk.
It made a lot of sense to write about Forex Hedging as a result.
For the longest time, I couldn’t actually tell if hedging currency was actually a useful investment strategy or not. Certain funds clearly benefited from it while others didn’t.
It was so frustrating to look into that I actually asked Su Jun to help me with it. There were a couple of conclusions, but nothing I could really use to come up with a definite answer.
You guys know I like definite answers. I like to know which sectors and geographies have historically outperformed others, and why. Where the Efficient Market Theory is basically uncontestable in certain areas and completely non-existent in others. But I really could not get whether Hedging works. It's such a mixed bag. Some firms do it extremely well, some don’t. I can’t always tell if they do it well because there’s some kind of long term predictability, or luck, or…
And unfortunately for passive investment pundits, this stuff is actually important.
Not everything worth saying is good, and not everything good is worth saying.
Its unusual. For the most part, I would typically start an article with good intentions, but it hasn’t always worked out that way.
To censor myself is not very easy for me. Even if an article is not fully fleshed out or half written, it's usually hours of work with research before it turns out to be something that needs scrapping.
There is a lot of Financial Information out there. It comes in the form of videos or a comment that gets a lot of upvotes or bloggers or even other consultants. It can be challenging to figure out what is truly useful and isn’t merely fluffed up.
It’s important to ensure that you’re getting the right information, and I’d love to be a big part of that journey for you.
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.
If you have any such questions about the articles and how it may apply to your finances, you can feel free to leave a comment, or drop a message through any preferred medium (if you prefer privacy).
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Money Maverick is a Licensed Financial Consultant with MAS, who specializes in Investments and Critical Illness Insurance.
The views on his blog are strictly of his own opinion and have no affiliation to any of the companies he works with.
Here are some of my resources on:
3) Retirement and Leverage: Leveraging a Private Annuity, Pros and Cons (ft. Jamus Lim)
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 Optimisation: How I Avoid the Largest 'Fees' of All
Investments are also available using CPF (Ordinary Account), SRS (Supplementary Retirement Scheme) and Cash.
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