Sorry for the light links this week. I haven’t found much worth sharing. Besides, I’ve been too busy binge-watching “Bodyguard” on Netflix.

Delay paying off your Mortgage Early, Build Liquid Assets till Your Debt is Less than All your Liquid Assets (Investment Moats)

Right after I post about how Investment Moats is one of the best Singapore-based financial bloggers to follow, he writes this gem. It’s a topic that many Singaporeans would find useful and I’m sure the broad principles apply to non-Singaporean readers as well.

Dividend Investing Is Bizarre (Fat-Tailed and Happy)

Saw this off Financial Horse’s curated links for the week. US-based reasons so remember that in Singapore, investors don’t pay taxes on dividends since those are taxed at the corporate level.

While the writer is correct in pointing out that investing for dividends means taking on equity risk and that dividends can get cut, the writer fails to point out that dividends can increase over time and the share price can appreciate.

The use of free cashflow to pay dividends instead of reinvesting in the business is also not necessarily a bad thing. There have been many cases of management, flooded with cash, going into areas of business that they otherwise would never venture into.

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Financial literacy (FinLit) in Singapore is going to be a thing. After all, sometime late last year, it was announced that all Polytechnic and ITE students would be made to undergo some FinLit module.

I really hope that this programme pays off because there are too many old folks who are quite clueless about basic finance concepts and there are too many wannabe financial bloggers out there who offer shitty advice and they really don’t know any better.

Old Folks Getting Scammed

I read this in the news the other day about how an elderly petrol station attendant got conned of almost $130,000 over a period of 10 years. Now, this elderly man may be an extreme example because of how he fell for such an obviously fake story but how many folks do you know of that trust every single word their financial advisor tells them?

I find that among older folks, it’s only those that have been running their own businesses for some time that are more savvy of when the professional advice they get is dodgy. So, for the majority of folks that fall in the average, they wouldn’t question the advice from a financial advisor regarding what kind of financial products are suitable for them, and which are not.

The oft-used analogy is that if you’re sick, you would get professional advice from a doctor. Similarly, if you have problems with your finances, you should get advice from a financial advisor. To a certain extent, this is true. However, also consider the fact that the barriers to becoming a financial advisor in Singapore are much lower than that for doctors. Even more importantly, is the fact that most of them work for commissions. In other words, the more money you put into their products, the more they earn. To me, that’s why you can’t compare financial advisors to doctors.

And it’s not just older folks

Maybe it’s just me. Or maybe Google’s algorithm is getting too good. But lately, I’ve noticed a proliferation of blogs (and this is just Singapore-based ones!) that start off as personal finance blogs but have now ventured into the space of giving advice on stock-picking.

Now, it’s one thing to give advice on how to save money but when you give advice to people on investing, that’s a whole different ball game. There are some basic principles to investing but giving advice on whether to buy or sell a certain counter is treading into a murky swamp that even professionals fail to do very well.

Take the following for example:

Not going to put a link to this and forgive my amateur attempt to mask their identities. You can go search for the post if you want to but I suggest you spare yourself the agony.

I saw this featured on my feed that Google’s curated and it looks like this blog’s trying to sell some course that teaches you how to invest so that you can spend your time travelling and experiencing the fun stuff in life.

But I read the post and realise that it’s as vapid as the title.

There is NO SUCH THING as a safe return. Dividends can get cut, Bond prices can go down and assuming you get 6% in one year, then what? What are your chances of finding another “safe” 6% yield for another year and another and another?

The worst part about this blog is that they were even featured in a local newspaper which goes to show how FinLit inept our local journos are as well.

In Short

I really do hope that people out there beginning to take an interest in investing find the right sources to start with. In the Singapore Financial Blogger Universe, there are way too many bad sources and few good ones.

In the vein of supporting FinLit, I suggest starting with the following places:

Personal Finance/ Investing with a Singaporean flavour
Investment Moats
Financial Horse
Dr Wealth
The Fifth Person

US-based
Anyone from the Riholtz Team (Ben Carlson, Michael Batnick, Josh Brown, Barry Ritholtz)
Early Retirement Now
Mr Money Moustache

There are definitely other good ones out there but this list is not a bad place to start to or even get by with.

Delusions (The Reformed Broker)

It’s true. The academic world has known for a long time that more data points do not necessarily make for better predictions. Unfortunately, as humans, our confidence goes up based on the amount of information we have. this is why I’m all for making investing as simple as possible.

Hackers may have just stolen $1 million from the Ethereum Classic blockchain in a “51%” attack (MIT Technology Review)

So much for the much-vaunted about revolution of blockchain. I chanced upon this soon after reading another post on Marginal Revolution about how blockchain technology is less secure than people think it is.

The funny thing is that the Marginal Revolution (MR) article is on a study about how, in theory, the blockchain can be compromised and then, this MIT article shows the execution of it. I may be misinterpreting the article but it sounds like what happened in Ethereum Classic is an actual happening of what’s described in the paper the MR article talks about.

Which brings us to the more important point – technology progresses and improves lives, but often not overnight in the way that people in 2017 were making blockchain out to be through the way they invest their money.

Updating My Favorite Performance Chart for 2018 (A Wealth of Common Sense)

Check out Ben Carlson’s yearly tally of how various asset classes fared and their performance in subsequent years. It’s interesting and tempting to use the table as a gauge of what’s currently cheap or expensive but the table only goes back as far as 2009 so to use the table for any sort of investment decision is dangerous.

For example, the 10 year tally shows that REITs, Large Cap (US stocks), Mid Cap, and Small Cap were the best performing asset classes over the 10 year period and in terms of frequency, it holds too. However, we have been in a bull market and so to extrapolate the same sort of performance for another 10 years may be detrimental to your portfolio if a deep bear markets follows.

Given the rally in the markets from the start of the new year, a friend and I were discussing the likely direction of the markets. Now, we aren’t chartists nor are we professional economists or analysts* but my friend has a good sense for business and I…, well, I read a lot.

He was wondering about the potential implications of a slowdown in the Chinese economy and its impact on the world economy, and by extension, the world’s stock markets.

Based on what I’ve read, I think some serious shit could happen and I’ll lay out the conditions for it.

The Chinese Economy

It’s no secret that China’s economy is slowing down. It’s also no secret that the Chinese government has been trying to transition the Chinese economy from an investment-driven one to a consumer-driven one.

To a certain extent, China has been pretty successful in helping Chinese companies grow and gain the technological capabilities necessary for them to be world-class competitors.

If we just look around us today, many Chinese brands like Alibaba, Huawei, and Xiaomi have sizable shares of their respective industries. Within Asia, countries like Tencent (which owns the all-in-one app, Wechat) has also become so entwined with people’s lives that it’s going to be hard for their Western counterparts to gain a foothold. So, the bottom line is that it’s no secret that China’s investment-driven strategy has produced some results.

However, what many people outside of China probably don’t realise is how the Chinese government directed investment spending in China. It turns out that the Chinese government was leaving it up to the banks and its related entities.

And while the rest of the world recovered, this worked fine. Unfortunately, the returns started to slow down once the low-hanging fruit was picked and obviously, lots of money has been either lost through corruption or just bad investments.

The best examples of this are how much money was flowing into overseas property markets like Canada’s and Australia’s or how Chinese companies with non-existent business models (think bike-sharing firms like Ofo) expanded in so many markets so quickly.

In short, to paraphrase the Washington Post article in the link above, China’s debt-fuelled stimulus is getting less and less effective. Which brings us to the better question: What’s next?

China’s Gameplan

I’m not an expert on China but if I had to guess, China realised that returns on investment were slowing down due to diminishing returns and/or corruption were those who had access to the money were just misappropriating it and moving the money overseas into property and other forms of wanton spending.

Therefore, their solution to “pay off” the debt that was circulating in the economy was to have their domestic economy take over. If their households started to consume more and take on more borrowing in order to do so, the previously issued debts of the firms could be “rolled over” into newly created debts that would be borne by the consumers.

The second thrust would be for Chinese firms to expand overseas as much as possible to earn foreign currency. This would directly help pay off the debts created as it would be a return on the investment.

The third thrust is to have the RMB become more widely accepted as a reserve currency which is pretty much a variant of the first strategy as the world takes on more debt which “offsets” the amount of debt owed by Chinese firms.

What Could Go Wrong?

As 2018 showed, the Chinese consumer is not exactly picking up the slack from the firms. Although in part due to Trump’s trade war and the Huawei situation, Chinese consumer spending is projected to slow and evidence of it is showing up in the projected fall in iPhone sales as well as the drop in car sales.

As for the second thrust, Trump’s trade war, as well as a projected slowdown in most major economies, is making this strategy a no-go. Ofo looks like it’s preparing to go bankrupt which shows you how tight credit is in the startup space.

The third thrust is also unlikely to work even with China’s “One Belt, One Road” idea because that idea pretty much depends on China lending money to developing countries to build all sorts of infrastructure like ports and railroads. This means taking on more credit risk for the Chinese financial system which is the opposite of what China needs.**

Conclusion

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I don’t want China to succeed. China’s economy slowing will mean a lot of pain for the rest of the world. After all, it is the world’s second-largest economy. Much of Asia also depends on China to buy raw materials or supply us with goods.

What I’m saying is that China needs a lot to go right for it to restructure its economy and given the state of affairs in the world today, it really needs Trump to stop his ridiculous trade war and the fed to loosen credit so that Chinese firms can breathe easy.

Notes:
*Well, not likely those guys are likely to be any more accurate.
**Lending money to third world countries for infrastructure projects in which neither borrower nor lender has much experience executing is a disaster. China may have another agenda through this but that’s another story altogether. See Sri Lanka’s experience with their Hambantota port.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In a previous post, I commented on how the fall of the Vanderbilt dynasty is instructive that even with all the money in the world, people can still be enormously unhappy.

In this post, I want to comment more on the reflections regarding personal finance and dynasty wealth after reading “Fortune’s Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt“.

Given that the book is a fantastic account of the characters that inherited insane amounts of wealth and how they blew it all in a generation or two, I learned some things and here are my thoughts on holding on to wealth, should you choose to do so.

1. Don’t Marry an Idiot and Don’t be One

Too many of the Vanderbilt children married spouses that were only interested in their wealth. Commodore Vanderbilt’s sons were only too happy to let their wives try and outspend each other by building mansions and ridiculous summer homes at costs that were astronomical.

The cost of building these mansions was not just the problem. The costs of running the mansions were astronomical because of the number of staff needed to for such a huge place.

Sadly, even those that recognised that their would-be spouse was merely after their money wasn’t spared. Consuelo Vanderbilt, daughter of Alva Vanderbilt, was married to some nobility in England because her Alva had illusions of grandeur about her descendants becoming royalty. The irony is that the noble family that Consuelo married into were running out of funds to maintain their estates in England and needed Vanderbilt money.

The funny thing is that there are similar stories across the Vanderbilt family so I can safely conclude that it doesn’t matter if you have all the money in the world, people who don’t understand money will find some way to spend it all.

2. Dynastic wealth is made from market power and requires diversification

Commodore Vanderbilt made his money largely by being one of the few operators in the market – first in the ferry industry in New York and then in the railroad business.

If you want to amass great wealth in a lifetime, it’s necessary that you own assets that have some sort of dominant market power. It was the same for Bill Gates and in case, you want to use Warren Buffett as an example of someone who’s been in a competitive business all his life, I like to point out that while insurance and managing funds is a fairly competitive business, he’s always stressed the importance of owning businesses that have a moat. If that’s not market power, then what is?

The thing about businesses with market power is that they don’t last. In the Vanderbilt case, the law quickly caught up to busting monopolies with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and the Great Depression quickly made sure that asset values and incomes fell. Those who were still spending freely quickly found that they had to make deep, deep cuts. Revenues from the passenger service also fell as motorcars started becoming more affordable.

The issue with dominant players is that the market will always find a way to reduce prices either through the use of new technology or new competition. It’s hard to fight against these forces and therefore, the Vanderbilts should have been working hard at gathering a diversity of assets rather than spending freely.

3. Accumulate Assets, Not Junk

While the Vanderbilts were huge collectors of art, prized horses, and other things, the problem is that when you have all the money in the world, you tend to bid too high for these “assets”.

That makes them junk.

The Vanderbilts didn’t accumulate all these things based on a reasonable analysis of the store of value or appreciation in the value of these assets. Neither did these assets throw off any income. They just did it for the “appreciation of art” or to show who had more money or “better tastes”.

This meant that when it was time to sell these assets in order to either pay off debts or to maintain their lavish spending, these “assets” were sold for cheap. Even the mansions sold for much less than they were built. The only thing upside was that the land the mansions were built on were sold for much more than they were purchased because the land was situated in a prime area.

Is Dynastic Wealth even necessary?

At the end of the day, perhaps a better question is whether passing hundreds of millions or billions of dollars down to people who haven’t earned it a good thing?

I’m beginning to think that perhaps Buffett was right in saying, and I paraphrase, that he would leave enough for his children to do something but not so much that they would have nothing to do.

After all, look at the lives of various monarchs and emperors around the world. The royal families in England or Thailand have so much money that their descendants do nothing unless they choose to. Their lives are pretty much a PR exercise to make sure that the public in their respective countries still support them.

But the main thing is that dynastic wealth robs them of simple human activity. Japanese princesses have to give up their royal status if they marry a commoner and guess what, they then have to be taught how to do stuff like go grocery shopping.

I really think I’m leaning with Buffett on this one. Enough money to do something but not so much that I don’t have to do anything.

First “Best Reads” of the year. Hope this year will be another year of working towards your goals.

My 2018 Annual Expenses: $19,665 and Financial Security Musings (Investment Moats)

The OG financial blogger in Singapore’s review of his expenditure in 2018. The details aren’t important. What’s important is the fact that his expenditure only comes up to just under $20,000 in one year.

With that kind of expenditure, it’s very likely that Kyith never has to worry about much about money for the rest of his life. Why? Because he’s playing such good defence that it becomes a part of his habits and in the meantime, his portfolio will continue growing (even more if he continues working and saving) to such a point he will never have to work unless he wants to.

65 million. That’s how many apartments are empty in China. Even as a proportion of the total housing stock (20%), the numbers are staggering. You have to wonder whether the fall in the Chinese stock markets is really due to the Trade War with the U.S. or it’s a sign of a larger problem in the domestic economy.

I’m willing to bet that it’s the latter.

$10 Million Isn’t What it Used to Be (The Wealthy Accountant)

It’s only early days of 2019 but I’ve found another blog to follow.

A musing on how having more money than most people isn’t a life-changing event. It’s a first-hand account of how going from less money to more money doesn’t really change who you are.

And ironically, that’s how people get rich and stay rich.

This is a culmination of thoughts after reading a few things.

First, to set some of the context, there’s this article on Daniel Kahneman’s take that most of us don’t want to maximise happiness. Instead, sometimes we choose to pursue unhappy actions that provide satisfaction.


Kahneman argues that satisfaction is based mostly on comparisons. “Life satisfaction is connected to a large degree to social yardsticks–achieving goals, meeting expectations.” He notes that money has a significant influence on life satisfaction, whereas happiness is affected by money only when funds are lacking. Poverty creates suffering, but above a certain level of income that satisfies our basic needs, wealth doesn’t increase happiness. “The graph is surprisingly flat,” the psychologist says.


Money only has so much utility

And then, I read that Mr. Money Mustache is no longer married. The godfather of the FIRE movement who longer has any financial worries is now separated from his wife. To his credit, it seems to be an amicable split because most breakups usually don’t end up well since breaking up is an emotional subject.

It’s not my business that he’s longer married and of course, financial difficulties probably lead to a higher chance of divorce. But it just goes to show that marriage is more than just about money.

Relationships need work. Money is just another constraint to work with

I love this reflection from Kate at Minimalist in the City. It’s pure, honest and a wonderful reminder that everyone has good and bad days. Being able to recognise and appreciate both the good and bad is probably the first step to appreciate the fact that we’re alive in this world.

I need to work harder on being present. Thinking too much about what could be or what may be is a useful and satisfying distraction but that means that I’ll miss what’s going right now in my life.

Further proof that money isn’t everything

Last but certainly not least, I’ve just finished reading “Fortune’s Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt“. It’s a fascinating insight into the Gilded Age where families controlled obscene amounts of wealth relative to the rest of society. And the Vanderbilt family was the richest of the rich thanks to the fortune amassed by Cornelius Vanderbilt.

The family spent it all within 3 or 4 generations no thanks to crazy spending by his descendants as well as the spouses they married. And from the account written (by a Vanderbilt, no less), it seems that they were deeply unhappy people despite (or maybe, because of?) spending all that money.

I’m pretty convinced by now that money is just the medium or the tool. The question I keep asking myself is: what will I be remembered for?

Final best reads of 2018! Hope 2019’s going to bring us better reads.

How Mark Burnett Resurrected Donald Trump as an Icon of American Success (The New Yorker)

(Very long) Amazing read. Never underestimate the power of sales, marketing and pure bullshit. I love this line from the article:

Fran Lebowitz once remarked that Trump is “a poor person’s idea of a rich person,” and Jackson was struck, when the show aired, by the extent to which Americans fell for the ruse. “Main Street America saw all those glittery things, the helicopter and the gold-plated sinks, and saw the most successful person in the universe,” he recalled. “The people I knew in the world of high finance understood that it was all a joke.”

Go read the whole thing.

Complete Guide to Supplementary Retirement Scheme for Singaporeans (Financial Horse)

Great read for those who haven’t set up and/or contributed to their SRS accounts. FH makes some good points about the pros and cons of the SRS.

Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day? (BBC)

A good, balanced view as how all scientific studies or articles on scientific studies should be. I’ve been experimenting with intermittent fasting and found that it works for me. However, that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone. Self-awareness is more important than anything else.


Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.

– Bruce Lee

2018 hasn’t been a very good year for me – the stock market hasn’t helped with building my net worth, I fell had to take sick leave from work twice in the last quarter alone when I usually go a whole year without taking sick leave. At times, I haven’t felt like doing much either because of this sense of boredom and jadedness with life and work.

Within the family, there have also been some health scares. Earlier in the year, our cat had a little bit of tummy troubles following his visit to the groomers. Then, the older family members faced some health problems.

Thankfully, 2018’s about to be over. And we should recognise and celebrate the things that made the year great. These are my “Best of 2018” and I hope you find yours too.

Market Calls and Cryptocurrencies

One of the few things I identified right was how overhyped crypto was at the beginning of the year. Of course, by then, cryptos had already fallen quite a bit from the peak reached at the end of 2017 but let me pat myself on the back for calling the bullshit on the investment that is crypto.

3 Feb – More tales from the crypt(ocurrency)
14 June – So, who still wants to buy bitcoin?

But even more prescient than Crypto which I was largely skeptical of as an investment in 2017 was recognising the flow of easy money into the tech space.

10 July – State of the (U.S.) markets
11 Aug – State of the Markets (1 August 2018)

Now, before I get too swell-headed, I must confess that it’s not like I made profits from my views. I just got lucky that the tide against tech turned so much in such a short period of time.

Easy credit could have continued and I’d just as easily be labelled as someone who made a prediction and got it wrong. That’s the danger when shorting markets and unless you’re as experienced as someone like Jim Chanos, you shouldn’t do it.

This isn’t a how my portfolio did in 2018 post so I’ll leave it here. Look out for that when the year actually ends.

Learning New Skills

2018 was the year that I finally put whatever programming I picked up to good use. I wrote a script to automate some super bothersome tasks at work and if I had the time, I probably could write more scripts. I also messed around with some webscraping for stock data (shhh! Don’t tell anyone.) and I guess the next step would be having that data on a site for everyone to view. More importantly, I created a page to document the STI’s PE10. It went live at the end of July and I update it every first day of the month.

You can check it out here.

I’m hoping that in the not-too-far future I’ll have the chance to learn programming with a little more guidance and that I’ll actually have a chance to create sites that are useful. Best part is that I’m going to have my job give me time off (with pay!) to go do that. That’ll probably happen end 2019 or in 2020.

New Knowledge – habit formation

If I didn’t learn anything new all year, then that year would be a certain disaster.

James Clear’s Atomic Habits is easily one of the best things I’ve read this year. He gives really sound strategies on how you can form new habits and ditch bad ones. In fact, I didn’t know it then but I was using some of the same strategies to lose weight and practice mindfulness meditation.

This led me to cut sugar from coffee and I’ve lost even more weight than before and am at the same weight that I was in high school. Once again, the message is instructive – you have to make it a paradigm shift/lifestyle change rather than use willpower to make the change.

To drive the point home, let me give you another example.

I also developed the habit of writing roughly 3 blog posts a week this year and while it isn’t much, that’s helped boost traffic to my blog this year.

My blog stats across the years…pathetic but hey, this is a personal blog after all. I’m writing for personal amusement and not to bring in some dough.

You can see that this year is the year where, apart from April when I was on holiday for a week, the views each month were consistently above 2,000 (coloured blue). So what gives?

Well, the main things that happened was (1) that I finally got my new device, and more importantly (2) my wife started going to gym every weekend.

What has that got to do with anything? Well, every weekend, while she at the gym, I pumped out blog posts over coffee while waiting for her to be done.

This is precisely what Clear was talking about in his book. New habits need to have some place in your routine in order to become part of your life. This might be particularly instructive for some people as the new year is coming around and new year usually means new resolutions. If you really want to achieve something in the new year, you need to change your habits and not just hit some targets for a couple of weeks through sheer willpower.

Personal Front

On the personal front, this year marks the 6th year that my wife and I have been married and I couldn’t be happier. I’ll be lying if I said that we are happy 100% of the time but I’m pretty sure that on average, we’re happier together than we are apart.

I need to work on communicating with my wife more. Maybe it’s a guy thing or it could be just me but I’m not very good at communication (that’s why I have this blog!).

Our cat is also just the best thing that’s ever happened to us. He’s the one thing that makes me wake up at 6:45 am every single day and he really bosses me around until he gets his food. Then, he’s just the sweetest thing who will do whatever he wants: chilling under the bed, on his cat tree, cat window or on the sofa because he wants some attention from us.

This is his first full year with us and I know he’ll be with us forever. If you love cats, check him out on Instagram (@kingteddy_thetabbycat). Also, please donate to the Cat Welfare Society if you can. If you want a cat, adopt. Don’t shop.

2019, please be nice to me

I hope 2019 will be good for you and if anything, I’ll be working on the things I can control – my emotions, my temper, my actions, my reaction to events that are out of my control.

Goodbye 2018.

It’s been a crazy week for the U.S. markets this week. I keep expecting Asia to follow suit but each morning after a bloodbath on Wall Street, Asia remains subdued. I guess that’s what happens when everyone’s away for the holidays.

It’s the weekend before X’mas but somehow I feel like X’mas has already passed. I’m not a X’mas person anyway and I’m really looking forward to next year. This one has been nothing short of bad for the markets but I’ll leave it more for a “end of year” post.

Happy week ahead!

How Cheap Is The Singapore Stock Market Currently? (Motley Fool Singapore)

Regular readers will know that I usually use the PE10 but there are many ways to skin a cat. I’m not usually the Motley Fool Singapore’s biggest fan but this is interesting because I’ve seen James Montier do a similar study on international markets and it is a feature that when markets are beaten down, “Net-Nets” must appear.

“Net-Nets” were popularised/invented(?) by Benjamin Graham to find stocks that are trading for less than Net Current Assets. In theory, buying these companies and immediately liquidating them will earn you a positive return. The nub of course is that the value of their current assets may not be realised in reality. However, the theory is still valid and therefore, is an indication of how pessimistic investors are about a company.

In any given market, you tend to find companies that aren’t doing well and so you would expect a certain number of “Net-Nets” to exist at any given point in time. However. the number of “Net-Nets” in a bear market would be exceptionally high as pessimism of general prospects are dim.

In short, an exceptionally high number of “Net-Nets” in a market would be a fantastic indicator of when investors are too pessimistic about the future and hence, would be useful as an indicator of how cheap a market is.

Right not, the Motley Fool data seem to indicate that we’re cheap but not dirt-cheap.

Nov 2018 – Monthly Updates (Minimalist in the City)

Putting this one here because of the interesting statistic cited in the post:

Interestingly so, a study also mentioned that a child typically only plays an average of 12 toys out of 238 toys they own. This is about 5% of the toys which is quite an astonishing figure that should bring attention to the adults that a child does not really need that much toys at all.


5% is a ridiculously low number but I’m not surprised. The funny thing is that I think it’s not confined to kids. I’m pretty sure it applies to clothing, shoes, bags etc. Heck, it might even apply to our cat because he doesn’t play with most of the toys that were bought for him.

It’s sobering and a timely reminder that we should really think hard about what we need before we spend money on things that’s just going to take up space and gather dust.

Don’t Be Your Worst Enemy: Self-Inflicted Wounds Are Terribly Unnecessary (Financial Samurai)

A fantastic post listing some of the ways we sabotage ourselves.

I’ve done it many times in my life as well.

When I was younger, I drank way too much. That was a complete waste of time and money. I should have spent my time picking up some more practical skill.

There are many more examples I can give you and while each of them seems like a waste of either time or money or both, I learned important lessons from each case. It’s as if each misstep increased my self-awareness – the things that I’m good at, how to play to my personality, the areas that I’m not so good at that I could and should increase my competence in.

There’s nothing I can do to get the time that has passed so what matters most is how I spend my time, money and energy on from here on out.