Now. This is closer to a philosophical view point of money. Of course we all know what money is for and what money can buy...
You see... Recently, my wife got called to Paris again on short notice and she once again dragged me along. Since it was a last minute biz trip, it was really expensive to buy my ticket and I highlighted this to her... But to her, it wasn't important. She just wanted me to go along. It was important to her. She knew how much I hate to fly long trips and she even offered to buy me a biz class ticket so that I could get better sleep. And of course I declined the offer.
This was when I started wondering. What is the value of this almost $2k ticket to her... From any logical perspective, this $2k ticket to fly me over for a couple of days just to accompany her is pretty much a waste of money. I think many of you would think so... I think so too...
But when I look from her perspective, my understanding changes. She earns quite an ok amount at her work. We hardly spend on anything else. She's planning to work for many more years. She happy at her job...
Ok based on the above. I get a better understanding of why she's ok to spend $2k to fly me over just for a couple of days... Working without enjoying the fruit of her labour is basically pointless. She works for her money so that it can buy her options. If she doesn't spend on things that she values... Then working hard is pretty much for nothing. Her priority is not to retire young. She enjoys her work and wants to work for many more years. Due to this, I cannot look at the value of money the same way as how I look at money.
For me, money or saved money buys me the freedom not to work. So I always feel that I should only spend on necessities. Else if I ever run out of money, I will need to return to work.
But for her, money buys her the option of flying me over on her biz trips cos by flying me over, she feels happier and this makes her happier to continue working. She also loves her high tea buffets. And for her, work buys her these enjoyments.
Now, we aren't talking about folks who max out credit cards or are deep in debt. We still have a healthy savings rate and growing AUM. For her, to spend some money on things that she feels is worthy should be accepted.
Can she afford it? Yes. Is it an expensive luxury? Yes.
The thing is, I've met people like her before. People who spend money buying stuff they like. Who love their jobs, and they plan to work til they're old... And the thing is... It's absolutely fine to buy things that will make them happy. Else why work?
I used to work to buy my freedom. But she doesn't want that. She's happy working. She wants to buy other things. And so she shouldn't be judged for buying other things. She doesn't judge me for buying my freedom. And I shouldn't say much when she wants to buy things that make her happy. As long as the spending is within reasonable limits.
And I think this perspective might be ignored in the early retirement or financial Independence community. We always think that frivolous spending is bad... But maybe it's not what we think it is...
Now of course, if she's not happy with work. Or always complaining about how miserable she is. Or how little money she has, then that's a different matter. If that's the case, then I think she shouldn't be spending money on stuff and should be hoarding money so that it can buy her other options.
So... Maybe it really is ok to spend a bit more. Who's to say how much happiness is worth spending on or not spending on. Each of us values money in our own way. Money buys us options. It could be freedom, it could be stuff, it could be things we enjoy, etc. How much we value each item, only we ourselves know and determine whether it is worth it. As long as you're saving fairly well for retirement, not over spending and getting into debt, enjoying work and planning to work til old, what's a little more spending every now and then?
So what is the value of money? I think it really depends on what you want to buy... For me $2k is maybe 2 months of freedom. Whereas to her it's a ticket for me to follow her on a biz trip. And the thing is... Both of these are reasonable purchases. Cos it's up to the buyer to determine what's worth it or not.
Just don't complain after spending it. So for me, I shouldn't complain that I don't have expensive watches, cos I know that to me I value freedom more. Or for her, she shouldn't complain that she doesn't have money for an expensive bag, cos... Well she chose to spend it on a ticket for me to follow her... Well... Not like either of us are really going to complain about not getting luxury product anyway...
“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”
Formerly intended as a compliment, the phrase means that a person is a generalist rather than a specialist, versatile and adept at many things.
Yet somehow it was warped to make the jack of all trades feel inadequate...
“Great minds think alike.” This is actually a shortened version of a longer quote, of which there are two versions.
For the full quote, you want to say, “Great minds think alike, small minds rarely differ” or “Great minds think alike, and fools seldom differ.”
Same idea, different phrasing. But what does it mean? Don't be too cocky when someone agrees with your idea. It could be a bright idea... Or maybe both of you might not be as bright as you think eh...
“Blood is thicker than water.”
This is one of many Bible verses that has been mis-adapted for common use, because the word “convenant” doesn’t roll off the tongue in everyday use. However, the real version completely changes the meaning.
The quote comes from: “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”
Although we commonly use it to suggest the strength of family ties, it doesn’t refer to family at all.
It actually means relationships of choice bond people more than just being born within the same family.
A covenant is an agreement or promise. It's kinda like, if I decide that you're my close friend due to our past experiences, good times and bad times. That relationship could be more important than just being born in the same family.
So what's the moral of the story today?
Don't just blindly read and follow everything you hear. Maybe you're learning the wrong thing. Even if it comes from a reputable source. Verify it a bit. Read a bit more. Everyone makes mistakes. Maybe the reputable source also made a mistake. Think from multiple perspectives.
It always baffles me how people are affected by what others say rather than using their own logic and experience.
I was talking to a middle aged lady who was discussing potatoes with me. We were talking about potatoes which have sprouted. She said that last time her mum cut off the bad/green parts of the potato and still continued to eat the good parts of the potato. But she said that due to some new info she read, apparently it's not good to eat even the good parts so both her and her mum stopped eating even the good parts of the potato and just threw the whole potato away as long as it has sprouted a bit. I then asked this lady... Is your mum still alive? Yes... Is your mum still healthy? Yes... Then I asked... Your mum has eaten this for the bulk of her life and is still healthy. How come suddenly you read something and decided to change your habits? She had no answer for me.
Why do we fall ill? By eating bad chemicals... By germs, bacteria, viruses getting into our system. There are billions of bacteria, some are harmful to humans. Other bacteria is apparently good for us. In our digestive system, we have millions of bacteria living inside us which are good for us.
Someone wanted to give away some expired packet drinks. She and her friends drank the packet drinks. Then after finishing their drinks, they discovered that the drinks were expired and decided that they didn't want to drink the remainder of the carton anymore. When asked if she or her friend fell ill... Her answer was, nope, nothing happened to her friend or herself... And yet... She decided that the drink was not fit for her consumption... Ok whatever, less for her, more for us.
I know of a friend who religiously checks ingredient lists for sugar and she avoids food with sugar. But yet, she is ok to consume fruit juices and lots of fresh fruit. Cos to her, these sugars are acceptable cos they are plant based sugars. I asked her...Where does sugar come from? Cane sugar comes from sugar cane. High fructose corn syrup comes from corn. No difference right? Still eating plant based sugar. The problem with sugar isn't the source of sugar. But the quantity consumed. Why is there so much sugar in our processed foods? If we do a little research, it comes from people wanting to have less fat in our processed foods. Manufacturers removed fat and added sugar instead to keep the food tasty and acceptable to consumers. And yet, throughout the years, obesity has increased and diabetes has also increased. More and more research has come to show that eating animal based fats and oils are better than eating certain types of plant based oils or sugars.
More and more research has also come to show that processed foods like cereals are loaded with sugar and may increase their chances of getting cancer, yet people still consume them... And people continue avoid eggs. Where research has showed that dietary cholesterol has little impact on serum cholesterol. Apparently eating lots of processed foods and transfat impact cholesterol in the blood stream more.
You see... The thing is... Humans are logical. They are ruled by emotions. Fear, greed, anger, laziness, happiness, etc.
People like eating sweet stuff, it makes them happy. People are afraid of falling sick. Even if there's been no experience of falling I'll throughout the years. People are lazy and want the convenience of easy to prepare food so they don't really bother about the side effects of eating cereals.
People always comment on how rescued foods could make us sick. But we aren't fools, we make sure that the foods are cooked properly before consumption. I have never had any issues with rescued foods cos I reheat them properly myself. Rescued foods... Could be leftovers from restaurants, or unsold fruits and vegetables, whatever... Could contain germs... Just like any other food. I make sure to reheat the foods or cook them properly to kill the germs. And yet... In the past few weeks, Singapore has had 4 cases of mass food poisoning from restaurants with proper food licenses. So yes... Rescued free food can make me sick, paid food from restaurants can also make me sick... But the reality is... Germs and pathogens make me sick. Doesn't matter where it's from. And only when I prepare my own food will I be confident that I have done it correctly.
And it continues to baffle me. We all learn maths and science in school. But somehow when we come out into the real world. Not many people use what they have learnt.
Cos humans make decisions using their feelings... And marketers know this... I'm always so anti-marketing. Cos I find that it's... Unscrupulous.
I'm talking about sign up bonuses. Nothing to do with the credit card itself.
Now this really depends on a few things like is there any min spending to get the sign up bonuses.
But generally, I find it acceptable for minimum spending of $500 for $100 sign up bonus. That's a straight off rebate of 20%. Of course if there is a sign up bonus without minimum spend it's better. But otherwise I'll accept minimum spending of $500 for $100.
Ok so... I always wondered why people are excited about luggages... Cos some credit cards will have a min spend of $500-600 and the sign up bonus will be a travel luggage. And to me... This is kinda pointless. Cos I can buy a luggage for $30-$80 at Giant at Vivo.
So a more effective way is to get $100 cash/rebate then use the money to buy a travel luggage instead of getting a luggage as the bonus. Cos I'll still have excess after that.
I've also signed up for credit cards for airport lounge access. I'm a bit split on this one. My wife applied for the both of us, but I didn't think it was really necessary. But it was free and we just needed to sign up and we could get 2 lounge passes. Lounge access is worth around $30-$50 per visit so I suppose it was worth the sign up.
I do wonder why some people are hesitant on signing up for credit cards. If it's managed well, it's like collecting free money. Credit cards aren't as demonic as what some people make them out to be.
Rebates are a good source of discount and savings and in fact, it is unfortunate that the lower income can't get access to these rebates to help them with better discounts and savings.
Ok my expense updates have been getting pretty boring cos there's little to talk about...
Food ($406.30) has been a bit more expensive this month cos we went for buffet high tea at a hotel. $108 for 2 pax. Also went to a fancy cafe which my friend runs, I told my wife about it cos it has some unique food so she wanted to try it... ended up we went twice, 2 Saturdays in a row... but I reckon we wouldn't be going too regularly. ($55+$85) Basic eating out and food expenses after removing the special treats above are $158.30, these are pretty much my wife's lunches or when I go out with my friends.
Toiletries and health ($95.10), wife went for some vaccination which isn't covered by the company. And I bought some dish washing scrub for a couple of bucks.
Transportation ($24), nothing much to say, these are our usual MRT, bus rides, we do take public transport even though we own a vehicle.
Special Expenses... which are typically incurred due to my wife's activities. We went to KL in November ($157.20) for food and transportation, a bulk of this is covered by my wife's company.
Bought a ticket to go KL again in December ($115).
One of my LED lights had issues, so we went to buy a couple of replacements on Qoo10. Bought 5 pieces, used 1 for repair and kept 4 as spares. Total cost for 5 pieces ($36.10). We decided to buy 5 cos it came with free delivery. Previously when our LED light had issues, we went to the retail shop where we bought our lights, they sell the LED panels cheaply but they said they were out of stock for the lower wattage of panels. What was available was a higher, "better" LED panel, but it was still cheaper than at other retail shops. We were kinda forced to buy it cos we were a bit desperate as we were living in the dark when the living room LED panel blew... But it was actually too good for our requirements, so we decided that the next time we had any issues we would find cheaper alternatives. So buying on Qoo10 is definitely a better alternative than retail... as long as you know how to install and replace your own lights.
Wife bought 2 pairs shoes on discount 40% off ($56.28). Can't be helped. My wife has issues with shoes, cos they need to be comfortable and fit well, blah blah blah... No, really, if she doesn't have comfortable shoes, it's really troublesome when we go out cos she'll be limping and stuff, so I'd prefer her to get comfortable shoes. I told her that she shouldn't be experimenting too much on her shoes, cos based on past experience, when she bought different brands or different styles, she always had issues when going out as they weren't suitable for her purposes.
Gift expense was ($77) cos my wife bought those stuff from taobao during 11.11 cos it was cheaper. Bought stuff for Christmas gifting for family, friends and colleagues.
That's all for the month of November... I'm wondering if such expense updates are even interesting anymore, cos there isn't really much to discuss... Getting kinda boring isn't it?
This post has been so delayed cos of my issues with my laptop... Still hasn't been fixed, I'm using a borrowed laptop currently.
Food ($47.40), we were out of the country for almost 2 weeks so we didn't spend much on food.
Toiletries and health ($262.80)... OK! This was due to my wife spending on some special high end toiletries which she really likes from France... It's cheaper than if we buy it in Singapore... but... I don't even want to talk about it... it's just one of those things... I grumbled a bit on how expensive it was for her luxury of using some atas soap... but... ok nevermind...
Transport ($16.50)... our usual public transportation costs.
Special expenses Our Paris and Amsterdam trip was quite expensive. $717 is food and transport and our day tour as well. I classify it as special expense cos I wouldn't go to Amsterdam if my wife wasn't sent to Paris, Amsterdam isn't really on our to go list.
My wife bought a Mi Tab at $205. She says she needs it for work cos it helps with her productivity... Ok nevermind... I don't bother too much about my wife's "work" expenses. She's working, I'm not... I can't say much about it if she believes it will help her with her work...
$288 in Gifts... It's one of those things... We bought back some stuff from Amsterdam for family, friends and colleagues. My wife received some ang bao money for our trip to Amsterdam so we had some obligatory gifts to get for our well-wishers.
Obviously October's expense was high due to our Paris and Amsterdam trip... We were out of Singapore for almost 2 weeks. I'm hoping these don't happen often, I don't really fancy flying 13 hour flights. They are really tiring and expensive. I'm more used to my daily life of free stuff...
We go to 7-11... Buy some bottled drink. $2... Affordable? Yes. Cheap... Well... Relatively... Then we go to some supermarket and the price of that same drink could be under $1... Well, of course, buying stuff at 7-11 is more convenient at times. And, what's the big deal. It's only a couple of dollars... And that's true.
When I talk to my wife about meals. I ask her what's considered a reasonable price for a weekday lunch. For her $20 is reasonable. Woah! Ok I'm not judging her decisions and what she wants to buy. But $20... Is what many people would consider... Affordable or reasonable for a meal.
When we go out on weekends, $20 per pax is normal. I think many folks would agree. But yet... Is it considered cheap? Personally, I don't think so.
Coffee at the coffeeshop is around $1.20 these days... Affordable? Yes. But does it add up? Yes as well. Over a year, 365 x $1.20 = $438. Enough to go on a short trip to Thailand.
My wife has taken fancy to a certain restaurant recently and we went there in 2 consecutive weekends. Quite pricy at $20 per pax... These days we hardly eat out so it's not a significant expense to eat out. But to me, I found it expensive. Yet, when I asked her about it, she said it was pretty normal pricing. Acceptable in her view. I understand, we have to pay for the rent, the chef's creativity, ambience, etc... I'm not complaining.
It's rather... Everyone has their own view of what is affordable vs what is cheap. And I think it's good to be aware for ourselves. What is considered reasonable spending and what is unnecessarily more expensive. Like that bottled drink. I personally would not want to buy the bottled drink cos I can find an alternative. But I find the meal at that restaurant to be fairly acceptable, cos the food is unique and I can't really find another place which serves such cuisine, so I'm more willing to dish out that $20 per pax as compared to an overpriced drink.
IKEA... Affordable? Yes. Cheap? Not really. There are a bunch of things that are worthy buys at IKEA. But also a lot of rubbish buys. Unless you're really focused on what you want, it's easy to get distracted and buy something else that's 'slightly' more expensive and looks nicer.
Even when we look at more expensive items, it's similar. For phones, XiaoMi has phones at low $200 or less. But prices of average phones are $400... So many people still buy $400 phones. I have no idea why. Yes, they are only around $200 more. Affordable. But... Do they really use the full capacity of a $400 phone? Many people even doubt the functionality of a cheap XiaoMi phone. Just cos it's cheaper. People think it may not be as good.
And the thing is... This difference between affordable and cheap plagues us throughout our lives and we see it everyday. As we earn more every year, more things become 'affordable'. We brush off small purchases as affordable. Yes, you probably can afford it. But is it worth it? Is it cheap? Is it good value? Does it really bring you more happiness in your life?
That is for you to answer.
For me, I'm just highlighting it so that readers can be more aware and maybe can look at things differently.
Well... This is ERSG... So obviously it's not going to be about sex ed.
I'm talking about life.
Your colleague asks you. How are you? You reply, fine thank you. It's just a greeting. You talk to your friends. Everything is fine and dandy... You post on FB... It's always nice... Everything's great in life....
Or is it??? Everyone has struggles. All the time, sometimes, some feel it stronger, some feel it less, some can cope with it better than others...
And somehow, it's been so socially unacceptable to show this... Weakness... Cos struggles as perceived as such... Weaknesses. And that's a problem...
People have difficulty communicating their issues... And this is made worse that people also don't know how to react when people come to them with issues.
So people just don't express things. Cos listeners don't know how to handle it. And it's hard to find someone willing to listen. And it's also hard to find someone who's going to understand and relate to it. So ends up... Most of the time, people... We... Bottle in a lot of our feelings and troubles with no or little ways to get relief.
And this is what it is... Faking an orgasm... Showing that you're enjoying it when you're not really enjoying it. Putting on a show to make the other person... Or society feel like you're doing ok, when things aren't really ok.
It's not like I don't have struggles and issues. I do... I've learnt to cope with them... From these posts... I doubt readers would know about my fears and insecurities. Just cos I semi-retired early, doesn't mean life is all smooth sailing. Other issues crop up. Issues like planning for the future, whether finances are enough, boredom, lack of company, etc...
And of course different people tackle their issues differently. I've managed to address and get a control of most of my issues.
But some people aren't able to, and there's no shame in that, and there's no shame in asking for help. But also, most of the time, it's not easy to get help, cos they don't know who to turn to, cos... The problem is... Most of the time, we have avoided talking about issues so much that we, as listeners aren't as able to listen and handle such interactions when help is needed.
If I told everyone I was having troubles or insecure. Most people would say. ERSG relax... Everything is ok. Look at the cleaner or the tissue seller. Those are the folks who should be insecure. Not you... Simply put... Usually we try to make the other person feel better by trying to give a relative perspective that someone else is worse and that the person isn't doing so bad and shouldn't feel like they should have any issues... BUT, this is in essence brushing away and trivializing their concerns and worries. So they stop talking... They stop talking to you... And the approach someone else... And what happens? Usually? The same thing... And after a while... These people shut off. They don't talk to anyone else. Cos no one is going to understand or relate to them. Everyone just says that they are doing fine... But it's not. The cleaner has his own issues. But his issues aren't my issues and aren't your friends' issues... All our issues and troubles are different but we feel them with our own minds and emotions. The cleaner may have financial insecurities but he may mentally be able to handle them better than me. And maybe I need help. So stop comparing me to him...
You remember when you were in primary or secondary school? Most of us have best friends. We talked about anything, talked on the phone for hours, gossiped about people, talked about what we like, what we don't like... It's really innocent. But it allows us to express our feelings and when we are young, we don't get caught up in the societal norm that expressing fear and troubles are weaknesses... We don't judge as much or fear being judged as much... But as we grow older, we talk less on the phone. We express things less. We curate the posts on FB to make everyone think that life is great. We have less time for each other, we have less time talking about our lives and expressing ourselves become more difficult.
And this sucks. But yet it is what it is. Most if not all of us fake an orgasm to the world. We are having a great time. We don't want others to think we are losers. And of course social media isn't helping, cos we always see people having a great time on their FB and we think they are having a great time. But yet probably they are faking their orgasm as well. But we don't see that so people may end up thinking, how come so and so can travel so much, can buy a big car and I'm still such an under achiever.
So think about it. What do you really feel. Are you as happy as your FB posts suggests? Are you as happy in reality as what you show your friends? Family? Colleagues? Remember yesterday's post? Everyone sees you differently.
Are you happy? Do you need help? How about your friends? Maybe they need help. Have you been a good listening ear? Maybe it's time to start being one.
*PS. I currently don't have any fears and insecurities so if any of my friends are reading this. I'm doing ok. Hmmm... Or maybe I'm just in denial... Who knows...
Male, born in 1982. INTP Graduated with a degree majoring in Banking & Finance, Financial Adviser for a period of time resulting in in-depth knowledge of insurance products and marketing techniques of the industry.
Decided to embark on a mission to retire early in Singapore, a place where such an idea is considered impossible. As I believe that life has a lot more to offer instead of just a working career. I've decided to start a blog to note down my journey to achieve this mission and help others along the way who are willing to listen and try doing things differently from everyone else.
I have decided to remain anonymous until I finally am able to actually retire, reason being that this idea might not gel well with the company which I am working for currently and also to avoid real life flaming from people who say that such ideas are impossible and that an individual is lazy for choosing early retirement instead of contributing to society in the form of labour.