Addicted to Salary

JC Project Freedom Journey Towards Financial Freedom

Updated on 12/12/21. Updated on 18/12/2021.

“A salary is the drug they give you to forget your dreams.”

– Kevin O’Leary

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.”

– Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Black Swan

There is a lot of similarities between getting a salary and drug addiction. You get “high” with a wave of dopamine in your brain. Getting a salary triggers the same response from our brain. Every time you receive your paycheck, you get a small pike of dopamine.

I am addicted to a salary. Despite knowing that this is the fruit of modern slavery, I find comfort knowing that a fixed sum of money will come in at the end of the month. It is predictable, recurring (as long as you work), and something that soothes me.

Life revolves around work

Recently, I felt very lethargic at work, I hate it when I need to dial in for a meeting on Friday night at 9 pm and scumble to find a last-minute solution till midnight. I could not sleep well after that, waking up at 5 am despite sleeping at 1 am. As you can tell, it was a very disturbed sleep.

All of my life revolves around work. My work dictates how the rest of my life will be spent. On a daily basis, the majority of my action and thoughts are pretty similar, trying to finish up the list of things to do. I try to solve problems and move on to the next. It becomes a pattern on a daily basis.

A job is not constructive towards building your net worth because it cannot scale. The income is capped and determined by the hours you actively work. There is a finite number of hours you can work each week, your income is limited. I need something that allows me to scale.

Hence, I am planning my grand exit to tender my resignation in December when I will have accumulated close to 40 days of annual leave. Then I can encash them for close to 2 months of salary. This is like creating my own year-end bonus when there is none. There is talk about the reinstatement of bonus schemes and increments. How much increment can they give? Even if I give you a 5%, it is 2.5% per year over the last 2 years. If inflation is 3% per annum, money is eroded away.

Source: Reddit

Let us sidetrack and talk about a conversation with one of my close friends. He wanted to chat because he knew I had lots of experience with retrenchment and he felt that he is put in a difficult situation where the management may ax him. What a reputation I have made for myself right?

He asked me about the mindset how I see it and how I prepare myself. I told him,” Imagine yourself seating on a stool and your employment income is the leg of the stool. If it is your only income and someone took it away from you, it is like breaking the only leg of the stool and you will fall off from your stool. You need multiple legs to support your stool.”

Source: Pinterest

He replied,” I know that I need multiple sources of income but how many people have that? I only have a small amount of dividends coming in from STI ETF.” I replied,” I am not referring to your dividend income exceeding your expenses if that’s the case, you will be financially free. The key is to start building multiple sources of income. I am motivated to do this because I experienced a lot of shit working for others.”

He sent me a religious verse that God will provide. No doubt, God has blessed us and provided us with the entire journey. All glory is to God. However, if we quote the parable of servants and talents, if we do not take the necessary actions to better our lives, one thing is for sure, nothing will happen. God presented me the once-in-a-lifetime chance of Bitcoin at USD 3,000 again in 2021 but my crypto.com account is not set up. Who to blame? Myself. Always take responsibility for your own life.

Coming back to my addiction.

What do I fear?

  • I fear that my employment income stops, I do not have new bullets to buy more assets.
  • I fear that my wife will lose her job and there will be no more employment income
  • I fear that things are becoming more expensive like my favorite “Caifan”. 2 Vegetables and 1 meat used to cost S$2.50 and now they cost S$3.50.
  • I have other expenses which I do not have a good grasp of, such as future medical fees for our ageing parents. If it is not medical fees, how about other costs associated with ageing?
  • I am concerned about education cost for the children

Back to what I can control

Assume the worst-case scenario, both of us lose our employment income, which does not mean other sources of income stops. We will have more time to pursue our interests. She can go full-time into her life coaching business. I can become a full-time SAHD, send the children to school in the morning then drive GRAB in the morning and study 1 company every day. It means analyzing a company every day and becoming a full-time investor.

It is about fighting back to gain control of your own time. I want to determine how I will spend my time. I have experienced 9 months as a full-time IFA when I did not make more than S$1 k/month because I only sell things that I believe in. If I can survive that means I can live without a regular paycheck. (psss…remember your wife was paying for everything then?!)

In addition, the income from IFA can become passive, some of the income is recurring. For example, for a customer who invests S$500/month on a fund, you have a recurring commission of S$12.5/month. It is a one-time effort to acquire a customer, if you can keep your customer satisfied and continue to provide value, you can continue to build your customer base. This base can easily become a passive income of S$10k/month if you have customers who invest high quantum per month. Unfortunately, the income ends when I tendered my resignation from the IFA firm.

The crux is there are other means of making a living which is far superior to working for others. As I mentioned in my earlier example, your effort can compound and income growth over the years whereas if you compare it to your employment income which may cease when you age, people may find that you are no longer able to contribute or too expensive to hire.

I want to become a full-time investor to grow my wealth. I want to become sharper and better as an investor. I will give myself 6 months to learn and improve my investment skills.

  • Spend 6 hours per day studying a company
  • Complete all investment courses
  • Devise my investment strategy and plan
  • Be patient and don’t swing at every instance

Update on 12/12/2021

This is December 2021, I have not tendered my resignation yet. I informed my boss about my plans in November. He discussed another plan for me to work in another country near Singapore. This is still in progress but it sounds to me like away from family. Doesn’t it defeat the purpose? I want to be with the family. Meanwhile, it is interesting because I have not done fabrication for a very long time.

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