Save Money so You Don’t Need to Think About Money

In the podcast Don’t Brag About Money, I speak about why it’s not a good idea to talk to others about how much money you have or make. The main reason is because it is dangerous. If someone knows you have considerable wealth, you have a target on your back. You will be under the microscope, and any mistake can lead to a frivolous lawsuit. In this podcast, I recommended that you be ignorant of your wealth. Choose an investment whose risk level you are comfortable with and simply stick to it. Focus on your savings rate, e.g. save up 80% of your salary, and then don’t think about it. This strategic ignorance means that others cannot figure out how much you have simply because you don’t know yourself.

The market is not something you can control. You cannot control the global economy. However, you can control how much you save, so focus on that, and let the global economy be.

Another reason why I think it is important to not think about your wealth or earnings from investments is because it can be stressful. Reading finance news all the time, talking about money, etc can fill you with anxiety and stress. Talking about money with friends and family is also stressful and can lead to envy and probing and unwanted questions.

If anyone talks to you about money, my opinion is to simply shrug and say you don’t know. You don’t keep track of anything. Your accountant handles everything.

Happy New Year 2017!

The holidays have been nice. It’s alway nice to take time off work and recharge. People often ask me if I’m travelling anywhere. This time around I am not going anywhere. I haven’t been doing much other than lounging around, relaxing, and visiting family.

During new year’s eve, at about six in the evening, I went to my dad’s house for a new year’s party. It was nice being there. I had a good chat to some of the people, but after a few hours, there was too much beer going around and people became too loud. My dad was drunk and stumbling everywhere. This has happened before during previous parties. Whenever my dad gets drunk in front of many people, it’s difficult to describe how I feel. I feel deeply ashamed and embarrassed. I just cannot believe that, when I was young, I looked up to this man. He was my father. I respected him, and it turns out he is a drunkard and a clown. He is not the sort of man I can be proud of. It just makes me so sad. Many people at this party were drinking and shouting, but I wasn’t in the mood to join in, so I left at ten, which is fairly early.

I’m trying to be true to myself more. In my twenties, I was very concerned about not offending others. I wanted to fit in. I was the nice guy. Now that I am in my thirties, I have made it a priority to try to be true to myself, to feel how I feel, to do what I want, even if it goes against the norm, even if other people in the room all think I’m a weirdo. As everyone was drunk and stupid, I simply sat there, and I even excused myself so I could sit in the lounge room by myself. When my dad walked by, I told him I was leaving.

I deliberately parked my car outside on the curb to ensure that no other car could block me. A very important lesson I have learned in life is that you must always have an easy exit plan, a way to get out of any situation if you need to. As I have always said, even more important than a plan is an exit plan.

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Rational Misanthropy

It’s a Saturday morning now. I woke up at nine, drank a protein shake, and prepared a cup of tea. I’m writing this now on my laptop in a small room at the back of the house (see Why I Still Live with My Mother). I feel comfortable now but mainly because I am by myself. I’ve learned over time that not only am I an introvert who has difficulty being with other people but I am also a misanthrope who dislikes humanity. Google defines a misanthrope as “a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society.”

Especially since I’ve gone mostly vegan I’ve just noticed that people are really cruel and evil, and this applies to just about everyone, even family members and friends. I pretty much limit my human interaction to the minimum nowadays. Rather than try to get along with others and improve my interpersonal skills, I’ve simply given up on people.

I know these are extreme thoughts, but I’ve had these thoughts for a long time. I keep thinking about this too often, and there’s nothing I can do about it. One option is to conform to society, that is, I can just be “normal,” be like everyone else and eat meat, get married, go into debt to buy a luxury car, and so forth, but this cannot be the answer. If I do what other people want me to do, I’m not doing what I want, and I can never be happy following the path other people have laid for me. The only solution then is to do the opposite. Rather than conform and go into society, I become a nonconformist and get out of the society.

I have recently purchased a book on Kindle called Gorilla Mindset, which I hope can help me with how I think about things in my life. Rather than be filled with negativity, I can replace negative thoughts with better thoughts, but I don’t want to replace negative thoughts with wildly optimistic thoughts either because this can be harmful. Rather, I should simply have factual thoughts.

I currently live off dividends, so strictly speaking I don’t need to work, so I don’t need to go to work and be exposed to annoying people. But my dividends are not that high, and I feel like I should be able to earn an online income before I go off and become a digital nomad.

When I’m a digital nomad, I imagine I will be a freelancer. I will base myself in Australia and I will be an Australian for tax purposes, but I will fly to other places for long periods of time, say, three months. This means I don’t need to worry too much about applying for long-term visas. My aim is pretty much to get away from people and do my own thing, and I think travelling achieves this. I can stay at home with my mother, but if she annoys me or if my friends or relatives here keep bothering me, I can just try off to Chiang Mai where I can be by myself.

When I am a digital nomad, I will pretty much be semi-retired. I will have enough dividends to support myself and live a luxurious lifestyle, but I will keep myself busy I will do freelance work via, say, Upwork. I am not too picky about what kind of remote work I do so long as it is remote and allows me to work by myself. Freelance work requires you to deal with clients, so of course that might be difficult, but at least I get to pick the clients I work with. If there is a skill I don’t have, I can easily learn it online.

I have no idea what the pay will be like. It might be lower, but it won’t matter that much because I will already have dividend income I can live off. This is just something I can do to keep myself busy.

The digital nomad dream within me has been strong at times, and there are times when the dream dies. For example, when I went to Bali by myself a few months ago I realized how uncomfortable and lonely it was being there. I have also felt more comfortable in my job lately because I have changed teams and I am working among better coworkers. But there are times when I am around very difficult people at work and it bothers me so much that the digital nomad dream is rekindled.

A few days ago, I met up with some old colleagues who now work in a different areas in the organisation. I mostly don’t see them much, but every now and then when I’m in the lifts, I bump into them, so I meet up with them every few months. I cannot be rude to these people because they technically work in the same organisation as me, but they are often rude to me, so I am thinking of deliberately being rude to them so they start to hate me and get away from me. This is what I hate about work. You have to be so fake. You cannot offend the wrong person and you cannot burn bridges with people, even those people you really don’t like.

I am also tired of friends and relatives who try to get me to marry. I am a male in my early thirties now. Everyone tells me to get married. They will me that a man in his early thirties should not be single and that they are happy to “set me up.” Many people say that this is how Asian culture is so I should just go along with it to appease my parents. But I feel like I should not do that! I should do what I want to do. I am quite tired of tolerating this nonsense. I feel like I need to rebel now. I need to muster enough courage to go on massive MGTOW rants at weddings so that people will get the message and leave me in peace.

Something else I hate about work is how everyone always brags about how important they are. There is so much namedropping and humblebrags. Then there’s all the gossip. Everyone gossips as if they’re in high school. Often when I go have lunch with people or go on a coffee run with them, they’re gossiping about this person or that person. I just find it annoying. I hate the 9 to 5 but I endure it because I need to increase my dividend income. 

White Supremacism in Asia

I was in a cafe in Ubud in Indonesia today drinking a coconut oil latte. The cafe seemed to be staffed by brown-skinned Balinese women. From the kitchen, a blonde white girl (who looked to be a teenager) appeared and asked one of the Balinese ladies for a key. She kept asking, “Where is the key? They key?” The Balinese woman didn’t seem to understand. Her English was not great. The blonde girl sighed in frustration.

From all this, I could sense that the blonde girl thought little about the Balinese women, that they were beneath her. I could be reading the situation wrong. Maybe these Balinese women were incompetent or maybe they were treated with disrespect because they were poor, and so perhaps discrimination is a result of skill or wealth rather than race.

In my opinion, racism is natural and normal. Even I am racist to a degree. The reason why many people are racist is because we need to understand our world and make decisions using limited information. We learn through experience, often seeing trends and correlations around us and from these we form ideas.

Although generalization is a logical fallacy (see faulty generalization and hasty generalization), we all do it to some degree because we don’t have infinite time to be able to collect all data. Most of us are also mentally lazy, so rather than think too deeply about an individual, we tend to simply make assumptions about them based on easily recognizable features such as skin color, clothes, the car they drive, the watch they wear, the job they have, their income, and so forth.

Lighter skinned people seem to have more wealth than darker skinned people, and so many people link lighter skin with more wealth, and wealth is correlated with intelligence, so lighter skinned people are considered wealthier and more intelligent. Balinese people tend to have dark skin, and lighter skinned people include not just those from Europe but also the Chinese as well as Arabs.

At a subconscious level, I am sure many lighter skinned people looked down upon darker skinned people, but I am sure it occurs the other way around as well. Many dark skin people seem to look up to whiter people.

Since skin color is correlated to wealth and intelligence, anything that signals white culture in Asia seems to be status symbols. Many Asian women, for example, seem very keen on marrying white men, and when Asian women have white boyfriends, they parade them around like trophies. I had lunch with an Indonesian girl a week ago who told me that one of her coworkers went to Australia to study, graduated, and when he returned he refused to eat traditional Indonesian food because he considered himself an Australian and therefore was too good for Indonesian food. Instead of eating nasi goreng, he ate burgers and fries!

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Vegetarian nasi goreng from Warung Sopa, Ubud

It is not just Indonesians who get big headed eating American fast food. I’ve seen this behavior in many other Asians countries as well. I find the behavior humorous because in America and Australia, fast food is seen as the food of the underclass, something poor people eat. If you eat lunch at McDonald’s and come back to work and announce to your colleagues that you’ve been an McDonald’s, they will deride you and think you are lazy, fat, uncultured, and unhealthy.

Even though I believe racism is natural, it doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. Often when we jump to conclusions without all the facts, we make the wrong decision. For example, suppose someone came up to you with a business proposal. He wants you to invest $1 million in his restaurant business. He is white and wear nice clothes, so you trust him based on these features, hand him $1 million, and then it turns out you were the victim of a scam. Rather than take the time to actually research the person and his proposal, you made assumptions based on somewhat irrelevant features (skin color and clothing) and jumped to the wrong conclusion.

The solution to racism then is research or knowledge. Racism occurs because there is lack of research, lack of information, and lack of knowledge. The more facts and logic you can throw at a situation, the less racism there should be. However, if you use too much facts and logic, this requires more time and cognitive exertion, and it is certainly possible to go overboard with analysis and thinking.

I myself am an Asian person with somewhat brown skin, although I cannot speak any Asian language, and I was born in Australia. People see my appearance and make numerous assumptions. The way I combat this is to simply lay down the facts. My hope is that by educating people, I can reduce racism.

The most common mistake people make is confusing race with nationality. When most people meet me, they ask me where I am from. This is a confusing questions because it is not clear whether they are asking for your race, your ethnicity, or your nationality, so my response to is respond by stating a fact, such as, “I normally live in Australia.”

Many people, when they hear that I am an Australia, are confused. They typically say, for example, “I thought you were Indonesian? You look Indonesian!” The best way to respond to this is to clarify that race is a way of categorizing people based on skin color, body shape, etc whereas nationality is a legal-political construct. Ethnicity, like race, is a way of categorizing people based on race as well as religion, language, and so forth.

People on average tend to not care about where I am born and keep asking me what my ancestry is or my ethnicity. This is very difficult to answer because my parents were born in one country, and their parents were born in other countries, so it’s very mixed and difficult. I can tell that people I talk to want simple answers. They want one country so that they can instantly attach me to certain stereotypes and then quickly understand me (or think they do), but I find it fun to try to go into detail about the intricacies of where certain ancestors were born, the definition of race versus ethnicity, whether races even exist, and so forth.