I started writing this blog writing about financial independence, savings and expenses.
Similar to MMM and ERE. And I've encountered many others who share the same feelings in Singapore.
As time passed, I wrote about leaving my job and my life of unemployment. Still close to financial independence and expense control.
Now, as I look back on my articles, I realize that my mentality to FI has changed. The articles I write about still revolve around expense control and financial independence, but my mentality whilst I write has changed greatly, which some somehow affected the tone of my writing.
Previously as I wrote, I had a mindset that I needed to save and control expense so that I could leave my job and gain FI, so the mindset was of someone driven and focused on earning, investing, saving and spending less and I thought that was the "right" way to live. Why would anyone want to work for longer than necessary. They should quickly save and spend less so that they can enjoy their life relaxing. So my writing was very much like someone thinking, "Let's GO!! Let's everyone go and save for FI!!!"
As I left my work, it became a mentality that I needed to control expenses. Cos I have no income so the only way was to "earn" by taking advantage of bank promos to get good return rates on bank deposits, save money with the small amounts all add up, or waiting for 1 month before buying, or SGD4 per month handphone bill. Basically, I "earned" money by getting credit card promos, better bank deposit rates or by getting good deals on stuff so I spent less. So the articles seemed to have a "Let's all spend less and cut costs, there's lots of stuff we can save on and trim the fat."
Now, somehow, after close to 3 years of not working, I've taking a slower more balanced look at life, which is unlike how I look at life before. Now, my mentality is very much, "to each his own", you can do whatever you want with your life, you can save for FI and quit, you can spend now and enjoy, you can do whatever you want to do. But you have to be aware of your decisions and you have to live with them. The thing about my mindset now is, "live a life that you will not regret when you are old".
I probably could never imagine that years back, I would now write that I would want to own a Mercedes. And yet now I seem to be more open to spending on some frivolous things. I'm not saying I'd be spending on everything and buying lots of stuff. I still have low material desires. But I've come to the understanding that life is a journey. It's straight sometimes, curved at others and sometimes up and sometimes down, the main point is to experience the journey, to enjoy the trip.
It's like you go on a holiday, but you only look forward to coming back home. Then what's the point? Life is a one way trip, there's only one ending. So sometimes you go and have fun and at other times you stress up. Most importantly I think it's important to fill a life with good memories with people you love and live a life with no regrets. And at the end, you can look back and say, "hell yea, I did it my way and it was fun".
So when I look at FI now, it's not so much that it's an end goal. It's really something nice to have. But yet even though I'm not entirely retired, I've come to the realization that I can live a good life even though I'm not entirely FI. I have enough to last a long time, and I know sometime in future, I'll likely find an easy income producing role to earn some side income along the way.
I'm now a big advocate of doing whatever you want and being aware of the consequences. If you want to quit your job and try a business go ahead. But plan your finances well. If you want to take up a professional sport or travel the world when you are young, then by all means go ahead, but plan your finances well, and don't look back, don't think, what it could have been if I had stayed in my job. Look forward, cos you aren't comparing against anyone. You are living your life, at the end of your life, you need to look at yourself and the people around you and say, "Yes I lived a good life, I've done good stuff, I've done stupid stuff, but I enjoyed my trip."
Now, personally, I feel that my younger mentality was kinda childish. There's not only one way to live, there are many ways to live everyone lives their own life.
So I can't think that saving and spending less is the "right" way.
If someone wants to buy that car, then by all means go ahead.
If he wants to work til 60 and grind the rat race, and reach a certain position, then by all means.
BUT I think that everyone needs to go through their lives with their eyes open.
So if they want to buy a fast car, or bags or whatever, then there may be consequences. But by all means if they want it and it makes them happy, I think they should do it.
As long as they are willing to live with the consequences.
The previous line is in bold for a reason.
Meaning... If that person is going to say "Wow! You're so lucky!!" Then that's not the point.
So IF someone wants to buy 5 condos and be a CEO of a company, then that's all fine, but realize that that person will need to work long hours for many days in their life and probably have less time to spend with their family. But if that is what's gonna make that person say. "Yes I lived a good life, I've done good stuff, I've done stupid stuff, but I enjoyed my trip.", then by all means I think that person should go for it.
Or if someday I look at my friends who have good pay and high positions in good companies with lots of assets, and I think, I shouldn't have left my job, then I would have failed. Cos they paid a price to be where they are, and so have I. I myself have paid a price to be where I am, I only see their position after 20 years. but did not see their sweat and tears, and maybe even their family's tears.
It's quite interesting really, thinking back and looking back with this "diary".
Cos now, when I read my old articles, I see how young I was.
And now, I'm more, heck care, life is really short, and you cannot live someone else's life.
So today, I'll end with... Live a life you feel is worth living. If you want to take risks, make decisions, whatever, by all means go ahead. Life IS really too short to regret. BUT do it with your eyes open. Cos some regrets are bigger than others.
Example, if you try and fail, would you regret more than if you don't try, versus, if you try and succeed.
At the end of your life be ready to say.
"Yes I lived a good life, I've done good stuff, I've done stupid stuff, but I enjoyed my trip."
Else why did you even take the trip?
PS. this doesn't mean that I'll go crazy spending. It's just that my mentality to spending and savings has loosened to take into account overall happiness, experiences and regrets in life.
<<PREVIOUS POST // NEXT POST>>