Trace Decay Theory

You can only start 2021 properly after doing these 3 things

Oops, is it 2021 already? If you are like me, the last few days was like a blur. A combination of Christmas, New Year and wine probably pushed the thoughts of wealth management to the back of our minds. But that’s alright, that’s what Wealthdojo is here for. In 2021, Wealthdojo will focus more on emotional finance (something that isn’t really talked about among financial experts).

But wait!

Before you get busy into life (again), take a step back. Don’t be a hamster in a wheel and start grinding/hustling. Take a step back and ponder on what worked last year, what kind of fruit your hustle bore and also your achievement you had. It is easy to continue forward. I challenge you to take the next 15 minutes for this exercise. I guarantee you that the next 15 minutes will set the stage for your 2021.


#1: 13 Milestones of 2020

It is very human of us to forget after we finish something. According to Trace Decay Theory: The theory that if memories are not reviewed or recalled consistently, they will begin to decay and will ultimately be forgotten.

Trace Decay Theory
Trace Decay Theory: Did I watch this movie last year?

We quickly forget about projects we completed whether professionally or personally. One very popular response I get when I remind someone of their achievement is this.

Me: “Remember you achieve XXX in 2015?”.

Someone: “Got meh? Now you say it, seems very familiar”.

Today, I challenge you to write down 13 milestones that you have accomplished in 2020. This is very important because we tend to discredit ourselves for things that we have done. By writing down our wins (even small ones), we are training our brain to appreciate the success we are achieving. It is also a strong intrinsic motivator for ourselves. Whether it is big or small, write it down. It is your milestone for 2020 and no one will be there to judge you. For those of you who have more, go beyond 13.

If you wish to read more, I will share 3 of my milestone in 2020.


First Death Claim

One July evening, I was having dinner with my friends when I received a text from a client, David (fictional name to protect the identify of the client).

“Hi Chengkok. My wife passed away this morning.”

I stared at my phone for a few minutes before my friend poked me in the ribs. I was slightly dazed and felt as if my mind was floating. I excused myself to go to the toilet still thinking of what to say, how to reply and whether to call David. With what felt like hours, I could only muster a simple “My condolences to your family. How are you?”.

“I’m fine. Could you help me with my wife’s death claim?”

I doubt David was fine that day. During the day when I met him, I could see the dark rings under his eyes. His eyes were puffy and seemed unfocused. It was a hard conversation even for me. I repeated to him what his wife shared with me when she first bought the policy. It was a policy that will mature in a few years time, the time when their children will be all grown up and she was hoping to use the money for their retirement holiday. It wasn’t much. The maturity was in the range of few thousands but she was very enthusiastic about it. I heard a big sniff and a very soft “Thank you”.

In the next couple of weeks, I settled the claim for his family. In the financial services industry, I am no stranger to death, critical illness or hospitalisation. I have done numerous big claims and small claims amounting up to 7 figures and in the course of it impacted and changed many lives. However, my first death claim stirred many emotions in me and reminded me how fragile life was. It was really my pleasure servicing you.


First Roadtrip in Australia

It is strange that having a first road trip in Australia is a milestone. For the many drivers out there, you might think this is a joke. Except for someone, who had a driving accident before.


In Nov 2016, I was young and wanted to “save time in my itinerary”. The result was a very tired driver (me) and a crashed car. I was alone in New Zealand when I crashed. I was very tired and fell asleep on my wheels. One second. One second was all it took. I nodded off and the next thing I knew, I was skidding down into a rocky path. I honestly thought I would die. When I crawled out of the vehicle, I was trembling. As I sit down on the rough rocky road, I couldn’t help but notice that the surrounding was so beautiful. Thank goodness it wasn’t my turn to go.

Ever since then, I had a fear of driving. My senses will be heighten whenever I had to drive. Driving a mere 10 minutes felt like running a marathon. I knew I was holding on to a high amount of mental tension.

In 2020, it was decided that I would go on a road trip in Australia. The first day experience was extremely tense. I was horned at, the cars around me was going very quickly and I felt paranoid from the constant pressure from the car behind me gave. However, after 2 days, I felt more comfortable and more confident driving. Though I still feel the tension, I learnt to be aware of the tension but not let it overrun me. It was certainly a breakthrough.


First MDRT

I got a surprise when my Director called me up to share with me that I was very close to MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table). During the time, we were in the midst of the circuit breaker. COVID-19 literally paused the entire economy in Singapore and World Wide. I thought this would be year of survival. Never would I thought this is the year I would achieve my first MDRT.

For those who are new to this term, it represents a milestone for financial consultants as it means that we are among the top 5% of consultants world wide! I never dreamt of achieving such accolades in my career. My intention was to help the Educated Poor elevate themselves to achieve the financial success they would given the right tools (6 Levels Wealth Karate) and right mindset.

This success is build on trust and referral from my clients and friend. A big thank you for helping me achieve this milestone in 2020.

MDRT Chengkok

Hope you enjoyed the read. Now it is your turn, what are your milestones for 2020?


#2: 20 Things to be Gratitude for

Our brains have been trained to look out for threats and worries. That’s how the human race has survived for the many years. It is not difficult to think about something that we are worried about. However, remembering what we are grateful for can help to tip our brains to thrive instead of survive.

I challenge you to make a list of 20 things you are grateful for in 2020.

These are a few of mine.

  1. Healthy (no major sickness)
  2. Can work from home
  3. Self invented tofu sleeping technique (to sleep within 5 mins)
  4. Trust and referrals
  5. Having a listening ear
  6. Parents fast technology adoption rate

What’s yours?


#3: Who do you want to be?

In the last 10 years, I have been taught to write out your goals, what you want to achieve in the upcoming year and our New Year Resolution. However, these New Year Resolution rarely make it pass February. The reason why it is so difficult to “lose that weight”, or “save that amount of money” is because these are tasks that we have to complete.

As human beings, I believe we are lazy in nature and these tasks (especially if they are difficult) tend to be put off until the last minute or the next year. Instead of having goals/tasks, I challenge you to write out who do you want to be list. Create an identity that you can be proud of.

Instead of “Lose 5kg”, consider “I want to be fit”.

Instead of “Save $10,000”, consider “I am accountable to my money”.

Instead of “Read 10 books”, consider “I want to upgrade my brain”.

The actions will follow. Personally, I want to be a thought leader in personal finance. I want to be an inspiring leader and I want to be physically active and strong.

What’s yours? Share it in the comments below.


Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.  

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The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.

How to have better relationship with money stressed woman

How to have better relationship with money?

We talk about building better relationship, having good wealth management but have we thought of having a better relationship with money (self-care)?

In Singapore, one thing that fly under the radar of the recent politics campaign is the high stress level of working. Do you know almost 100% of Singaporeans are stressed at work? (Source: Human Resource Director).


“Almost 100% of Singaporeans are stressed at work”: Survey

How to have better relationship with money stressed woman
How to have better relationship with money: stressed woman

Welcome to the city where the cost of living is high, have expensive healthcare and unaffordable housing. Together with this economic situation after COVID-19, many young people struggle to find their first job after graduation. Though I agree we have our positive side, we must also recognized that these economic-social issues will affect our relationship with money.


Why are Singaporeans Stressed at work?

Top causes of stress for single, married and working mothers vary, but all mention personal finance, too much work and personal health.

According to a survey by Jobscentral, being overburdened with financial commitments (29%) is one of the biggest reasons Singaporeans don’t leave a job they hate. 25% cited fear of not being able to find a better job as their reason for not leaving a crappy job. (Source: 3 Big Reasons Why Singapore Employees Are Always Stressed Out!).

While money is not the only reason, it is a common reason for stress.

Relationship With Money Stressed Statistics
Relationship With Money Stressed Statistics


Where did this stress stems from?

In my previous article about Self-Care and Wealth Management, I’m grateful to be able to ponder in depth on why people might become narcissist on self-care. It has to do a lot with their beliefs about money and I’m going to summarize it in the chart below.

Your relationship with money will determine your money habits that you have and it will led to the financial circumstances that one will go through and finally happiness.

Relationship with money
Relationship with money

Example #1: You are undeserving of money / reward.

I had a classmate, Karen who scored straight As for her primary school examinations. One year, another classmate shared with us that he just came back from a trip to Australia because he had good results in the last year. Karen decided to tell her parents about it. Her parents told her that if she continued to score straight As, she will be able to go for the trip.

Eventually, Karen had the straight As. But, the trip didn’t happen.

As a child, Karen held a belief that no matter how much effort she puts in, she will not get a reward. Today, Karen is a hardworking individual and put in a lot of effort in her work. Despite her hard work, she was unable to climb the corporate ladder and have mediocre salary. Personally, I feel that she still believes that she’s undeserving (relationship with money), other people are luckier and so passed on several opportunities (habits). This lead to her living a miserable life (financial circumstances)


Example #2: Believe that People With Alot of Money is Evil / Money is the root of all evil.

When I was young, I asked my parents why my classmate could go to Europe to travel while we only went Genting. My Mom told me that my classmate’s father was a businessman and he have to spend a lot of time on entertainment. He have to do a lot of “funny/bad things” that as children, we won’t understand at that age. Lots of Taiwanese/Korean dramas also reinforce this belief that you have to ruthless to earn money.

When I grew up, there was a period of time I judged people for earning a lot of money instead of being happy for them. If I learnt that they were earning more money, I felt that they done a lot of “funny/bad” things to achieve their goals.

I felt that earning a lot of money is evil (relationship with money), I would try not to earn over a certain threshold (habit) and that led me to living a normal life (financial circumstances).


This is ridiculous.

Your relationship with your money is largely influenced by the money lessons you learned from your primary caregivers and mentors, as you were growing up. While it is on no fault of theirs, we need to identify and be aware of the beliefs you have on money so that we can break out of this trap.

I challenge you to write down a list of your money beliefs. It could be “Money is never enough”, “Investing is risky”, “I need to spend money to feel good” etc. Ask yourself, does this money belief serves you or hinder you. If it hinders you, spend sometime to process why has it been affecting you and make a decision to change the belief.

We wish you good luck and stay safe.


No one will care about your money as much as you do.

In Wealth Management, it is important to Pay yourself first. Beware of scams. Before you invest in any company or popular investment opportunity, be sure to do your own due diligence. If you wish to learn more about investment, I hope to nurture genuine relationships with all of my readers. Please feel free to contact me on my Instagram (@chengkokoh) or Facebook Page or my Telegram Channel! Or subscribe to our newsletter now!