Self Reflection and Actions taken towards Financial Freedom on May Day

Today is labour’s day in Singapore (1st May) which is a holiday, I spend it to reflect on some recent events and continue to work towards our financial freedom journey.

It is coming close to the first month since I started work in my new work place and there may be changes which may affect the stability. I cannot pen it due to sensitivity of the issue and things are not yet finalized. This will affect my work to a certain extent. I just received my April salary and I felt grateful for it. I was looking at my IRAS tax filing for 2017 and saw my monthly salary for the company A at SGD 11,300. Then company A pulled out from Singapore and company B was paying me SGD 10,000 per month. Currently, I am drawing a salary with further steep reduction. Nonetheless, as mentioned earlier, I felt a sense of deep gratitude towards my hiring manager for giving me this job. There is CPF contribution which is contributing towards building my retirement fund. The job is challenging enough to keep me occupied such that I do not have time to worry.

I was feeling slightly depressed after returning from my Hong Kong holidays in March. Maybe I was not following my daily routine of going to the National Library. When I was retrenched, this was daily ritual for two plus months to the National Library when I realized that there are a lot of jobless middle age men in our society. They were using their laptops to trade stocks, look for jobs and watching online movies.

I attended one of the employment workshop and I realized that in Singapore, once you are 40 years old and older, you will become very vulnerable. It could be a structural unemployment such as the oil and gas industry which is in deep correction. I met one engineer who is 46 years old and he has been looking for work since 2016 till now. I met my MBA classmate and he told me his friends (mid-40s) from oil and gas were jobless for more than 2 years.  He explained the more senior you are and the higher salary you are drawing will make you more vulnerable. He is in his forties as well and need to downplay his last drawn salary to be given an interview opportunity. To add salt to the wound, I was feeling very blue as my investment portfolio is taking a dip of 8-10%. When there is no further income, the room for investment error is almost zero. When there is constant cashflow into the fund, one can take on higher risk.

At 36 years old, I have my own challenges. I am too entrenched in this industry and if I move to a new industry, I will start with a very junior pay. I will be pitting myself against the 20s who are young and energetic. They are like a blank flash disk where you can download tons of information at lighting speed onto them. I do not have the experience to compete for senior management role as compared to the 40-50s age group.

I told myself that my weekday nights and weekend will not be spent on Facebook or some nonsensical time wasting events. I need to build more alternative sources of income. I need to build knowledge on things that I am passionate about. I want to be ready when the day comes when I am retrenched or out of job.

On 28th – 29th April, I participate in Internet Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (IEAP) pilot launch training program. It is taught by the founder of Anspire – Mr Tan Liong Hai. I wanted to equip myself with internet marketing skills, coupled with my passion for investing, I hope to use them to inspire and encourage people.  I want to help the mass through educating them on personal finances, part-time businesses, financial planning and investment.  I officially register for this website domain, launch it today on 1st May to commit to this journey.

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