“If you continue to cry, I won’t bring you out anymore!” she shouted. Trying to pull you out of the shopping mall and look very apologetic to the crowd. “We cannot afford to buy this!” You continue to cry, this is a painful word which you learn at the young age “afford”.
Your parents did not drive. Both of them work to put food on the table. Growing up, you had never been to a restaurant. Your parents never spoke much to you about money. You had an allowance and you learn the value of saving. There was a time where your family was staying with your uncles. One of your uncles had a fruit wholesale business and he would sometimes task you and your sister to count the coins. After finishing the task, you were rewarded with $1 for your hard work. You learnt about salary through the exchange of time at the age of 7 years old. You did not learn how to hire people to do your work.
All Asian parents asked was for you to study hard, get good grades, and get a good job. You told your parents that you want to become an engineer at 10 years old and they laughed at you. You never thought of studying university overseas because it was too expensive and you did not want your parents to overstretch their finances. You tried to go for PSA scholarship interview but flunk it.
In university, you learned you were firmly middle class. You could get along with dudes who had cars and party at Zouk when it was still located at Jiak Kim road. You would buy a beer at 7-11 to get tipsy before entering Zouk because you could not afford to buy more drinks other than the 2 complimentary drinks.
You taught tuition since army days and continue to teach more students while juggling the hectic engineering school work. The tuition income allowed you to date your girlfriend then and paid half of your university tuition fees. The rest of the university tuition fees were paid using your father’s CPF monies. That was the only time when taking the bus with your girlfriend to hunt for food still sound romantic. Those who drove during university had more girlfriends. You could not afford to stay in a hostel because it would add more burden to your family’s expenses. You had slept on the mattress laid on the floor in your friend’s hostel. In university, you learned that there’s the rich, the poor, and everyone in between. You would prefer to be rich.
You got a job at government-linked corporation because you had received a second upper honor from the university and the starting pay was SGD 3,500. You dropped the offer and chose a shipyard job for SGD 2,500 because they were paying 10 months bonus. After three months, you left for a marine offshore services company because you dislike working on weekends. You tried to have work-life balance and determined not to fall into trap of credit card debt when you received your first card. Your only car was a second hand Toyota Corolla which had only 3 years left then.
You focus your energy reading books on entrepreneurship, personal finance, trading, and investment. You continue to take public transport, ate mixed vegetable rice, and taught more tuition. Your main goal was to accumulate SGD 100,000 by age 30 years old. You achieved your goal when you worked in Perth when the exchange rate was 1 AUD to 1.2 SGD. You were paid SGD with AUD 1,500 monthly allowance. You put your frugality and discipline to work. You survived on the monthly allowance and put your net income into the stock market in 2009.
You had been telling everyone that you would like to start your own business but never did the full plunge. You dabbled with dropshipping, affiliate marketing, accounting services for startups, and other part-time businesses. You did not take the leap of faith, you were afraid of failure. You had this notion that someday when you are debt-free, you can pursue your dreams of starting your own business.
After paying off your house, retrenched on a yearly basis from 2017 till 2019, you felt that you had enough. You took the plunge to pursue your financial planning business but it was difficult. Nothing comes easy. The COVID-19 virus came and you took the easy way out. You gave up. You scrambled and landed a job. You were back on the hamster wheel again. You worked hard just like your parents to put food on the table and continue to stash away your savings into investment. Then the second wave of COVID-19 virus came and the market was in red. You told yourself that you just need to work hard and work more years before you could retire.