The worst investor in the world

I’m almost the worst investor in the world.

The only things that saves me from the distinction of being Number One Shittest is that I’m Read More


My decision

Some time ago I pondered quitting everything and retiring into seclusion in a cheap location for the rest of my life.  In fact, I’ve been considering something like it for a long time – see this post and this one.  My most recent effort was greeted with a diversity of reactions from my valued commenters.

Having done the dry run and consulted with a few people who know the ground, I’ve reached a decision.

I think that I Read More

The big trade

You can’t time the market.  But as to reacting to what’s just happened – that requires no crystal ball.  I can’t tell you what will happen tomorrow but ask me whatever you like about yesterday.

Proviso: I am not qualified, nor morally or temperamentally suited to offer financial advice.  The following is purely my own opinion.  Anyone who takes this advice will probably end up penniless and hawking their arse down St. Kilda.

So we all know the next big crash must be Read More

Give yourself a universal basic income

Socialism is a bit like an egg falling from the Tower of Pisa.  The academics and politicians and Guardian writers who pontificate about how wonderful it is, and how much kinder than capitalism, and how logically sound, are like the clear, fragrant air it sails through safely during its long descent.  Reality is the ground.

Take its latest incarnation, the Read More

The importance of money

When I was a wee lad in Grade Nine our class had to fill in some sort of questionnaire that would tell us what job would suit us when we grew up.  Oh yeah, ‘aptitude test’!  Through lack of use I am gradually forgetting English.  The teacher said we were very lucky to be undertaking the test because normally it cost heaps to do one at a private employment agency.

Which takes us almost neatly to:

There was one question about how much money I wanted, and at that moment, for the first time in my fifteen years upon our baffling planet, I pondered the question.  How much money did I want?  Did I aim to be rich?

I decided Read More

The End is Nigh

The last few weeks have been hard. The toughest of my career, though I’m now experienced enough to take it in my stride and bounce back. But, Jesus. This week especially was tough. Too many more weeks like that and I’m done.

Thursday I got home exhausted and frustrated. I cancelled my language lesson and skipped the gym. I got straight onto the computer, went over my accounts and did some calculations. My query: can I retire as soon as I finish this contract, in two years time? Fully retire, and never deal with this stress and bullshit for the rest of my life?

I figured, Read More

Adults have spare cash

Several recent incidents had me pulling my diminishing hair out in quiet fury.

A colleague shat herself at work and demanded that someone clean her up and change her.

Well, not quite.  But something like that.

Okay, so a colleague’s car broke down and the repairs would take about a week and cost around USD $1,000.


I should clarify, this is a person about ten years older than myself with a comparable income.  We are not poor.  In fact, the cost of living here is so low that I find it possible to save about half my salary.  Why the cash flow problem?

And then there was a carbon copy situation a little while later.  A colleague bought some furniture, white goods and so on from me as I was leaving the country and was having a fire sale.  The total was about USD $800.


Don’t misunderstand me – I don’t care about waiting three weeks for a bit of money.  No skin off my beak.  Rather, what makes me grind me teeth is that these adults, who have been gainfully employed for many years, have such poor financial skills.  These are not enormous amounts we’re talking about.  Such unexpected expenses are quite predictable – we don’t know what they will be, but we know that they will be.

Defining exactly how much readily available cash an adult ought to have is a piece of string question, but surely a thousand shmakeroonies would be an absolute bare minimum.

If you’re already on my side then bear with me as I explain this to the slower kids: what would happen if you lost your job tomorrow?  How long could you pay rent and bills without resort to mumsie or the public boob?  I would suggest to you that a reasonable period might be around six months, which would hopefully be enough time to find a new job.  Personally I could get by for a year before needing to crack open my long term investments.

An adult should not have to depend on others or hang out until pay day for life’s ordinary slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.  One should have a rainy day fund such that you just groan when these events occur, cough up, and get on with your life.

I find it strange that people have retirement plans but no cash in an emergency fund.  Surely the latter should be the higher priority.  There’s no point having millions locked up in superannuation if a tree falls on your roof.

None of the above constitutes financial advice.  Readers should seek their own, independent advice from a qualified professional before making any investments.  If you follow the advice of some dickhead blogger you will end up the fourth wife of a toothless Arab.

What You Need to Know Before You Consider Living in Another Country – My New Post at Return of Kings

Laptop-Lifestyle-Trading (1).jpg

My new post is up at Return of Kings:

Are you considering a life-changing leap to greener pastures? This is an overview of some legal issues you’ll need to understand before you squeeze into an economy-class A380 seat and hurtle toward your new life. We’ll look at visas, tax, pensions, and divorce laws.

Disclaimer: I’m not a legal professional. My qualification is endless, exhilarating hours waiting in the crowded immigration offices of various foreign lands, negotiating bureaucracies, and checking out the multicultural talent. I’ve spent even longer hours boozing with grizzled veterans of the expat life, boasting or wailing of their experiences at the hands of the omnipotent authorities.


Unlike the West, plenty of foreign countries are pretty fussy about who they let in. And why shouldn’t they be? It’s their country. Remember, you don’t argue with the nightclub bouncer whose job is to keep out the riffraff. You put on a tie, or you take your business elsewhere.

There are four main categories of visas for living overseas long term:

Working Or Business Visas

These are visas that allow you to work or do business legally in another country. Unless you’re independently wealthy or planning on moving to a corrupt, third world country where such requirements can easily be flouted, you’ll probably need one of these bad boys. Yeah, I know Mexicans get away with doing cheeky illegal work in the US. That doesn’t mean you’re going to get away with it in Singapore.

Different countries vary widely in their requirements for a working visa. Some demand a university degree or need you to have a . . .

Read the rest of the article at Return of Kings.

Follow SovietMen on Twatter: @nvladivostok1

How to be Free


Image liberated from

Today I went over some papers and realized:

I am free.

Step into my world and have a look around, dear reader.  But don’t remove the plastic sheets from the sofa.  And take your shoes off.  Yeah I know it’s pretentious.  I don’t care.

Imagine that the worst comes to the worst (short of the actual end of the world).  I am hounded out of my job under suspicion of holding offensive (though accurate) beliefs, or by an absurd accusation hurled by Read More