I have always enjoyed my supper sessions with old friends. We have seen each other through the heady teenage years and nothing beats washing down stroke-inducing pratas with a milo-dinosaur at our neighbourhood joint.
We would speak with candour and wit. The conversation would be as fickle as a thirsty mosquito in a roomful of human subjects. We would talk about old school friends and new news, about sports and cars, and careers and travels.
Inevitably, the mosquito would settle on the big fat elephant in the room called ‘money’.
We would reminisce about when property was cheap, and blame each other for not having the guts to have a go at The Sail when it was launched in 2005. We would then go on to update each other the latest transacted prices in our HDB blocks, and discuss how we could unlock the value. Someone would then say he is buying gold, or farmland, or funds.
[Free Ebook] How should you invest your first $20,000?
We asked 14 Singapore finance bloggers to share what they would do if they could go back in time and invest their first $20,000. They can no longer rewind time, but you can learn from their experience and hopefully start with a better footing.
Once in a while, it would be a hot tip supper. One my friends would bring to the occasion the hottest stock tip in the market right now. He would proceed, with great authority and in hushed tones, to regale us with stories of how he stumbled upon the person handling M&A for this company A or how company B is about to land the biggest order in the history of its books or how a certain technology being developed will own the world and we should all sell our cars, houses and wives just to get a piece of the action with company C.
And the rest of the suspects would listen with rapt attention. Their responses will range from the blase (Who cares, I would rather watch my toenails grow) to the skeptical (Cannot be lah, are you sure there are so many zeros?) to outright denial (No way, we would all be abducted by aliens before such a thing could happen). Given the level of objection and skepticism displayed, it is of course no ‘surprise’ that every single one of us would then sneakily log on to our trading accounts to place our
bets bids at the earliest possible moment.
The next session we would regroup to compare scores. Winners who bought in would smirk their way through supper and take the high ground on the losers who had the fortitude to stay out. Loser would sulk their way through and curse themselves for not buying during the previous week when prices were still low as they eventually place their orders.
Of course, we all know how the story pans out. The merger would fall through, the extra zero would not materialise, and even aliens decided to give us a miss. Every single one of us got sucked dry every single time. Every. Single. Time.
I have since grown older (without a doubt) and wiser (depending on who you ask). I still love my friends, but I am no longer a sucker for hot stock tips. Sure enough a ‘hot tip supper’ comes by once in a while, but I no longer lap it up greedily.
On the contrary, I now think of trading (or investing, whichever you prefer) as a sport. I think of greed and fear as the emotions I have to master in order to excel at this sport. As with all sporting endeavours, the more I train, the better I will become. If I am not prepared, the only outcome will be one of total decimation in the arena. Yet it never fails to amaze me how many people continue to think they can waltz in, pick up the next hottest tip, and beat the pros at their own game. Ask yourselves, having never ever swung a racket before, could you expect to beat Federer at tennis?
PS: I received a breathless (yes, I can sense the excitement in it) email one day from Alvin asking me to write for BigFatPurse. Immediately my ego went on a trip just like it would had I been invited to tea with the ruling party. After coming down to earth, I thought of us at supper many years ago and how much we would benefit had we been more conscientious in our investing journey. I thought of how BigFatPurse has over the years, chipped away at our innermost to get us thinking about trading and investment and money management. And realised that there was no way I could say no.
May we all live lives of abundance!