Things I Learn From Meeting Friends

JC Project Freedom Happiness

I always learn new things from meeting friends when we share about our work and life. They help me to understand what is important to their lives, their financial situations and what motivates them.

The first meeting is with an industry friend. He works as an offshore shipbroker, he is paid SGD 12k per month with two months guaranteed bonus. On top of that, there will be commission which will be based on team’s profit. Sounds good right? Here’s the trade off. From Monday till Friday, every night he will be drinking to entertain his clients. The earliest he can reach home is 10 pm and latest can be 5 am, rest a few hours and start work at 10 am without missing a beat. I told him that was my life when I was 26 years old but I cannot do this now with a family. He said,”Exactly! The first month was fun but subsequently, it became a chore then I start to be turn off by the idea of entertainment.” There was a lot of quarrels with his wife and he did not get to see his children.

  • There’s a trade off for a good pay package. There is no free lunch.
  • When you have a family, you need to know what your priorities are.

He chose to submit his resignation letter and move on to an offshore asset rental company which pays him good money, he gets to spend time with family and no more entertainment. Maybe he will miss the entertainment part in the future.

Financial wise, he is almost paid up for a condo in the East and left 60% loan for the 2nd condo in Central region. In addition, he has a few endowment plans which will mature, allowing him to withdraw $200k every 5 years. His estimated present net worth is close to S$2 m. He has everything planned out and he is very thrifty. Furthermore, both he and his wife are high income earners. He wants to retire at 55 years old and I shared with him that actually there is a way to optimize his present portfolio and he can retire earlier than that if he choose to.

I met up with another friend after that. He and his wife used to work for a tech start-up. Both quit, leaving behind shares option equivalent of S$3 m assuming the company is being acquired at today’s valuation. They left without jobs in February, there was no work income since then till now. However, he told me the family is happier than before. He is happier running his affiliate marketing business from home, implementing his own business strategies. Basically, he calls his own shot. Furthermore, he is able to spend quality time with his children.

  • Money is not tagged to happiness
  • Sometimes you need to pursue your own happiness instead of pursuing money

Personally I felt some imbalance when I compared my pay package to the first friend, both of us are doing the same stuff. I was doing more, after securing both projects, I was wearing the hat of being the project manager as well. I felt short-changed. However, I do not need to waste so much time on entertainment. I ask myself if given an opportunity, whether I will take up his role? The answer is no. Move on. If there is shares option for me to make S$1m, will I drop it if I am unhappy, the answer is yes. Move on.

Everyday we are dying. Focus on what’s more important to you.

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