Professional amateur; trader, programmer, ex-tank commander, graphic designer, hiker, dancer, beer-drinker, Asian (see picture).

My bio and best-of

Hey it’s Simon, thanks for reading. I trade and invest, write code, do graphic design and hike in weird places whenever time and finances allow. My past lives also include commanding tanks, dancing and looking for cheap pubs in Singapore. Currently finishing up a degree, but also spending a lot of time outside of university learning unmarketable skills.

I mainly write about personal finance, self-improvement and being an amateur at many things, and sometimes venture into programming, economics, hiking, and general banter. I take pride in my work but don’t claim to be a professional writer — I’m much more…


Start investing now to get your $210,000 back

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Photo by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash

Government debt doesn’t sound like something for us to worry about. Sure, pundits are always sounding the alarm on ‘budget deficits’, and maybe it’ll have some iffy effects on the ‘economy’ that’ll somehow trickle down and take a couple bucks from our bank accounts. Ultimately, the government’s the one who has to pay it back, not us…right?

Well, technically, that debt is indeed owed by the government, but taxpayers are really the ones paying it. Above all, young taxpayers who have just run headlong into the Covid-19 recession.

Government debt will eat your net worth for lunch. …


And why a hedge fund just bought millions in insurance (again)

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Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

It’s mid-November 2020 — the US elections have just concluded (at least most of us think so) but the way forward for the markets is still fraught with challenges. Depending on your risk tolerance and time horizon, however, some of these might just be temporary blips. Here’s what’s on the minds of investment managers, and how your portfolio might be affected.

  1. Covid vaccine, cases and lockdown
  2. Trump and fiscal stimulus
  3. Control of Congress and policy
  4. Tax loss harvesting
  5. Bill Ackman and what it all means for you

Covid vaccine, cases and lockdown

While the election has overshadowed the pandemic in news space in the last…


Make use of boredom and disorder to help your mind adapt effortlessly.

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Photo by Paul Gilmore on Unsplash

We all stagnate sometimes. We lose our drive and fall into autopilot; our minds drift in limbo as we trudge through our days, and we become unmotivated, bored, disillusioned. We’re always exhausted, nothing excites us, and even if our jobs keep us busy, time feels like it has stopped.

If you’re feeling stagnant now, you’re not alone — we’re all experiencing it to some degree thanks to how the pandemic has changed our lives. As a result, many of us are turning to the usual self-help methods and hacks.

My military days used to be my self-help holy grail, so…


Step-by-step instructions for the most profitable investing tactic

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Photo: Dilyara Garifullina/Unsplash

Diversification has been an open secret in finance ever since Nobel prizewinner Harry Markowitz formalized it in 1952. Today, it remains one of the best things you can do for your long-term investment portfolio.

It’s the simple idea that a portfolio can become more efficient — minimizing volatility for a certain level of expected return — by spreading capital and risk across multiple assets.

Say you invest $100 in a stock because you think it could return $50, and you’re willing to risk losing $20. …


Smart spending summed up in one golden rule

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Photo by SinAbrochar Photo on Unsplash

Stepping into a tailor’s shop for the first time was a one-of-a-kind experience.

It was tiny, just about the size of a neighborhood grocer, but the floor-to-ceiling shelves were brimming with rolls of fabric. A pleasant smell of fresh laundry and the slightly hunched old tailor greeted me as I walked in.

I was used to glitzy, fluorescent-lighted fast fashion megastores that seemed to get more massive and more fickle in their tastes every year . This little shop tucked away in the corner of a forgotten mall was a relic in comparison. Yet, in this shop, I felt more…


The crossover you didn’t know you needed

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Source: Steam

Congrats on buying a lovely new spaceship. Well, I say ‘new’ — it’s really only new to you, since you bought it off Craigslist. You can’t wait to get it off the ground because you’re trying to start your own space Uber business, but unfortunately it’s still pretty janky and smells weird.

You hire a crew to clean up the ship and prepare it for its first journey, but little do you know, a few imposters have snuck in to cause mayhem. …


Building wealth and building character are not mutually exclusive.

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Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

Hey there, I’m an options trader. I’ll be straight with you, I’m in it for the money.

But I’m not here to wave stacks of cash in your face or try to sell you a course about getting rich. I want to share with you the things I never expected to get out of my trading journey, which I believe are investments in myself that are more valuable than the money I’ve made.

Sure, the money’s good. It’s not yet enough to live off though, and it was so difficult to make that I’m not sure I’d have lasted this…


Volatility, cyclical rotation and fiscal support

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Photo by Marco Zuppone on Unsplash

Trump is down with COVID-19. Politics aside, the President is faced with a potentially life-threatening disease a month before one of the most emotionally-charged election days ever. What could this have in store for the financial markets? How might my portfolio be impacted?

Here are some issues that should be top-of-mind.

Volatility


How to lose your hard-earned money investing or trading

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Photo by Kévin et Laurianne Langlais on Unsplash

You and I both like money, passive income and financial independence. These and the promise of exorbitant riches were what drew us to investing and trading in the first place, but allow me to curb your enthusiasm a little.

The average retail investor underperforms the market by 1.5% a year.

The average retail trader underperforms the market by 6.5% a year.

Just holding an index ETF, instead of spending all that time learning and researching and agonizing, would’ve made you far more money.

Face it: we suck at this.

We’re all susceptible to ‘get rich quick’ schemes, but for too…

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