The last 5 miles

I don’t particularly enjoy my sales job now especially after I’m married, I admit I enjoy the human interaction but not the constant social aspect that comes with selling. Maybe it’s an age thing?

I won’t know if I have chosen other vocation decades ago would I feel the same now? Perhaps this is the only job I can think of having that can give the maximized earning power to provide the needs of my family.

Will I forgo my current job now? No, because other than a house loan the other liability is my abled parents who are in late fifties and mid sixties respectively who needs monthly support. My brother may not be contributing soon as he has to pay for a maid to look after his kids and my bipolar disorder sister who is a low income part timer who earn close to nothing to feed the parents.

I can only count on my grit to massively save my income (basic and commission) for the next 5 years (if possible) and along the way fulfill my short and long term goals. Hopefully by then the passive income is sufficient to support the annual house payment till loan maturity and parents’ allowance while I take a work in a different field with a much lower pay (very likely).

I didn’t had the pool of money in 2008 to invest when the recession, if yes that will change the game plan now. But there is so many what ifs in life and I guess what it matters is now and I hope all is not lost.

I wanna finish the last 5 miles in a steadfast manner.

Forced financial prudency

I wasn’t a thrifty person to start with but seeing how mum struggled to provide for the family with an non-existent father who did not care to work regular jobs or pay for the housing or monthly bills or give regular daily allowances for school get me constantly fearing meeting our basic needs.

Hence, it’s no brainer that today they both suffered because of this financial imprudence – largely due to the father not working regularly since young and not saving. Dad stopped working ad hoc jobs conveniently when my mum stopped work at 50 to take care of my youngest sis who had a massive mental disorder then, they both live on the monthly allowances from myself and brother.

8 years down the road they are lamenting on the “miserable” amount of monthly allowances given. What is given is sufficient for basic, anything more like luxury holidays or wants they would have to work I told them, and was slapped with being unfilial. What a good way to tie money with filiality and guilt trip the kids tho’ they never provide for their own parents. Hmm…

In asian society, if the parents are financial prudent, the kids’ future will be well taken care of (peculiar), however if not the kids will be under the societal and cultural pressure to provide for their parents else they will be labelled as unfilial despite tremendous financial stress.

Wouldn’t it be better that each generation pay it forward to their kids and let the kids be financially independent by a certain age say university? Well, just thinking…

Easy to be the same

I reckon it is easy to be the same with the majority but difficult to be different or rather be the minority. Peer pressure, they say… tsk tsk,

Sometimes I wonder what has conditioned most to pursue this seemingly de facto linearity of life, is it a case of capitalism and constant marketing (social media/TV/ads)? I wonder…

For example, it is assumingly normal to be married by age x with a lavish (maybe) customary wedding, overseas photoshoots, then a district X property with copious amount of money poured into renovation, driving continental cars, followed by X number of children laced with enrichment classes and shower spouses with luxury goods or families with mandate holidays and the list goes on.

Thankfully I’m pretty lazy to torture myself more than a year physically (slimming) and mentally (planning) for a customary wedding. We didn’t spent more than 5k on a sit down private ROM lunch with really good seafood course (yums!) and our overseas photoshoot was gifted by my sister (Yay, $ saved). Plus the mister never buy me any gifts more than 300 bucks (hmpf!!!) except for the engagement ring which my fat finger cannot wear now.

Our first house was a resale flat in Yishun which we should have wait out for a BTO but we couldn’t handle being 28 and living with the possessive asian parents still – it was driving us nuts. We sold for a record high profit after 5 years of living and channeled that money into our next house. We camped into my parents’ place for a year while we searched for a perfect home at a low peak market.

I wanted something less than 450k, central location and near MRT however mister wanted a fairly new (just MOP) flat with no rubbish chute in the house (OCD and clean freak he is) – that means our selection is limited. We adjusted our expectations/budget along the way and we were lucky to finally find a affordable quantum 5 year old house in central Singapore, just 200m away from the MRT with no COV! We viewed it once, and mister pestered me like a kid to exercise the option to purchase on the same day (and yes we did).

We did not skimp on renovation (basics especially) as we are a firm believer on quality materials that is functional, reliable and lasting since this is likely our last home. We minimised any customised carpentry works because we find that most workmanship is mediocre mostly even with high price paid (skilled labour is a rarity) – so doing less has a lower probability of disappointment and heart pain, hence the only fixtures our ID did in the house are the kitchen cabinets and an industrial looking clothes rod that hang in the wardrobe.

Our car COE is due this May and we will not be renewing COE or buying new car despite being fairly “reasonable” affordable thesedays by majority’s standard. Our offices are approx 15 min car ride away or 30 min train ride away and going to town is just a 15 min train ride.

Over the years, mister and I have developed a habit on spending on consumables and not things we do not need except for occasional luxuries like restaurants, wine and skincare šŸ˜› We have all we need without sacrificing the comfort of life.

What is your experience on being different? Do share in the comments below. šŸ™‚

Full retirement sum (CPF)

Many of my girlfriends are in their 40s and like many Singaporeans we love to chat over whatsapp over anything (yes, women can really CHAT for hours…)

This morning, two of my girfriends and myself were casually chatting on CPF OA/SA.Ā  Given the increasing ceiling of BRS/FRS/ERS for CPF, we wonder if we have enough basic safety net when we reach age 65. BTW we are average income earners…

The 3 of us have different usage of our OA :-

  • Miss S, age 46 has paid up her BTO housing and have sufficient RA (SA+OA combined) projected at age 55, so that is one stone off her shoulder.
  • Miss H, age 40 one has a 2nd home mortgage to pay off which is not a big worry as she has a 1st property (private property) fully paid up and have backup plans to service the 2nd property if anything goes wrong.
  • For myself, just one property to service (19 years mortgage *ouch* *sob*) with mister, and the worst case is to service the outstanding in cash via dividend/equity/savings (which is silly).

We concluded (it is no brainer actually) these are the important parameters to ensure at least some form of BRS or even better, meeting the FRS :

  1. Housing – Buying an affordable home to ensure that sufficient money is left in OA to compound and supplement RA when one is 55. One can consider transferring the OA in later years if there is no intention to purchase property again or fund your children’s local education through CPF. Also if your home loan is less than OA interest, it makes more sense to stretch the loan period.
  2. Continuing to work as long as possible.
  3. Earn more income.
  4. Top up SA to enjoy income tax relief.

As you can see, the power of compounding $ over time cannot be neglected.

However, I personally think BRS is not sufficient for retirement expenses unless coupled with some substantial portfolio equity, dividend stocks, bonds or inheritance to rely on. Moreover the access to CPF life payout is starting at age 65, and to be honestly it’s a long wait it seems for most.

About me.

Turning 39, female married (dink).

Main indulgence in life is food eg. dining out on weekends (cutting down)
Little free pleasures is walking in NParks or watching on YouTube and occasionally reading non fiction books.

I am looking to achieve lean FI before 45 for myself and mister so that we have the option to work a less hectic job from 45 to 65 to achieve more quality of life (time is precious). For mister, he has no qualms continuing his current job as long as he is employed. For me, due to my job nature it is pretty short lived (sales – high stress) unless Iā€™m keen in moving to management level which I am not capable.

Only debt now is a housing that is on a 19 year loan

Short term goal
A. set aside emergency fund of 1 year (achieved)
B. liquidate stock when desired TP reached
C. Topup cpf SA 7k yearly until age 43 to compound to desired FRS at 55

Long term goal
1. build opportunity fund to invest in blue chip stocks during recession (item B will go into this fund)
2. thereafter x dollars into blue chip dividend stock as a backup to self fund housing loan for remaining 12 years (or lesser) loan period as current cpf OA balance can service home loan up to 7 years (age 46) without any fresh income.