I have to confess. I haven’t been catching up on my online reading this week. Been trying to get through “Money Changes Everything” by William Goetzmann. It’s a fascinating read as you realise how modern civilisation wouldn’t have been possible without finance. Another way of looking at it is that finance shaped modern civilisation and basically, a big part of the way we live today is because of finance.

Anyhow, here are some other things you could catch up on.


The Nine Essential Conditions to Commit Massive Fraud (The Reformed Broker)

Speaking of financial history, Joshua Brown gives a fantastic overview of how financial fraud is committed. Against the backdrop of the 1920s and using the profile of Ivar Krueger, Joshua runs through each step, illuminating it with examples from Kreuger’s life (which is detailed in a new book) and other more recent examples such as Enron, Madoff and Elizabeth Holmes.

If you read only one thing on this list, this should be it.


Bloomberg: The Good and the Bad of Retirement Saving (The Big Picture)

Joshua Brown’s colleague, Barry Ritholtz provides commentary on Vanguard’s annual review on retirement savings in America. It’s shocking to see how different the average and median amounts in defined contribution retirement plans are. Despite the positives in this year’s review, one major point he makes is that Americans are still not saving enough.

I suspect we might find the same (albeit to a lesser extent) here. CPF contribution rates are high but most Singaporeans spend a good chunk of it on housing. I’m not sure the minimum amounts in the Retirement Account (RA) provide for an average standard of living.


Policies, politics and paranoia: Singapore Democratic Party chairman Paul Tambyah goes On the Record (Channel NewsAsia)

I don’t usually like to post stuff on politics and I’m surprised that CNA even got someone from the SDP to present their views. Dr. Tambyah makes some very good points in his interview and I suppose if Dr. Chee was smart enough, he should let Dr. Tambyah take over completely. Dr. Tambyah’s image is much more appealing one than Dr. Chee’s. Having said that, being too much of a nice guy may not be useful in politics? I don’t know.