Thursday, May 14, 2020

How Much Are You Paying For Financial Independence?

For a long time, I've been thinking why I had pursued the niche path to financial independence.

Since I started working 12 years back, I've been trying to push aggressively my agenda for financial independence.

I scrimped, saved and invest really hard for years just to try and get out of the rat race so that I can finally breathe some slow pace of air outside.

Not many people chose the same path as I did. 

The millennials of today chose jobs that seems like they are enjoying it very much. Sometimes, I can't help but feel envy right there.

It appears to me that my reason for deciding to go for financial independence may have been biased and skewed right from the start.

But for exactly that reason, I am able to achieve the outcome that I have achieved today.

In the past recent weeks, I have been tasked to work tirelessly non-stop even while at home.

Weekdays and public holidays were blurred as I had to log in to my computer to clear my incoming emails during weekends and public holidays that I can't seem to clear while working on weekdays.

On some days, I felt so exhausted that a part of me feels like giving up.

One of my equivalent peers that were based in Malaysia resigned two weeks ago.

Instead of finding a replacement, my direct boss and hr conveniently slotted me in for the role and then send out an introductory email to everyone to congratulate me for taking up a step role.

A few people came to congratulate me and I just texted back a brief thank you in reply.

The inside of me was fuming, thinking hard why I deserved a congratulatory message in the first place - double the work, same income (or maybe including a potential paycut). That's not really something that's worth congratulatory for me.

I understand that during this period everyone was toughing it out and many businesses were trying to reduce their overhead, hence for this reason I have remained quiet for now.

But still I don't think I had it happy taking it up like this.

My coverage increased by double, meeting and conference can stretch up to 2 to 3 hours a day and the endless tasks coming in from both countries that I am handling. All this means lesser time to spend with my families and rest. In fact, I had not dined in with my children for a while now for both lunch and dinner, and this is considering we are all at home together!

As an introvert, I don't usually voice my unhappiness during the one on one session with my direct boss. As an introvert, neither do I enjoy endless meetings and phone calls because it tires me out. 

Most of my tasks require analysis and time alone to work on my spreadsheet so it requires plenty of concentration time to be alone.

This is probably the reason why I don't seem to enjoy working for the most part of my life.

Because work is something which typically drags from time to time and I become unhappy when it started to take away time for me to rest and spend time with my families.

I wrote this post not as an avenue to complain but rather this has been my only avenue channel to freely voice out my real thoughts and to relieve me from the pressure I had.

Some day, perhaps, I can truly enjoy doing what I do for the most remainder part of my working life.

Not now.

Financial independence had a price and I continue paying that price for now.

How much are you paying for financial independence?

Thanks for reading.

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  1. Hang in there b, we are all paying the price for financial freedom. And when we achieve it, and look back, it may be all worthwhile.

    1. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

      Unless someone strikes it rich by luck, for most of the people that reached financial freedom I think it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. It is testing times but we can get through this!

    2. when I thought about the way things have been recently, i owe my thanks to God for letting me find this amazing personality, i mailed Mr. alex roughly 2 months now, I was actually very uncertain about investing, very scared because i was also low on cash.I gave it my all, my first investment of $2,000 two weeks ago brought me $ 29,230 last week, and what intrigues me the most is the way him handles he partners, i recommend him too to my friend jeff, after trading with him, his testimonies have let me come here to attest for him. We are happy to meet a professional in you. I am proud to recommend him to any person who has a passion for trading, meet a good mentor and get good fortunes.Contact this veteran at:

  2. Some have been paying alots; but still can't reach financial independence. Sad case.

    1. Oh no hopefully not through wee fully reckless spending.

  3. Echo your sentiment totally and feel exhaustion from all the time work is sucking time from everything else in life. Persevere on

    1. Hang on there my friend...

      I always tell myself to give myself another year (metaphorically) and then see where it takes me from there. Usually, after a year my investments would have paid off nicely with all the cash injection so one day it'll be all worth it.

  4. Why are you doing this to yourself? Yes, financial independence is a good end goal, but life doesn't always happen as planned. What if you were to get, *touch wood*, COVID and become critically ill?

    As you lie in on your death bed, would you say you had lived the life you wanted?

    Or, let's say something unexpected happens to your family, would you blame yourself for not spending enough time with them when you could have?

    You know how to balance your portfolio, and you should definitely do the same thing about your life.

    -Avid fan of yours.

    1. Sadly you make a good point but at this stage, I'm too deeply positioned in a stage where its not easy to retract expenses (for e.g can't force my wife to work or can't sell our other assets). But the agenda is clear. For as long as it doesn't hurt the health too badly (just tired is fine hopefully the body will tune in to that eventually), I think it's still manageable.

  5. Hi B,

    I am a huge fan of you. Hang in there. I am sure you are still holding on to the job due to certain reasons.

    I guess this is life, we all work hard as though the company is ours. Hopefully, we will all get to enjoy the fruits of our labour in the near future.

    1. Hi MIM

      Thank you for your words of encouragement.

      The only satisfying when we get to purchase our list of shares doing our monthly portfolio updates Hahaha!

  6. Shitty work culture in SG. No choice, we are not cheaper than FT. FI is the way to get out of it.

    1. Yeah some companies have encouraged for more work life balance but the demanding of the work from the situation right now when everyone is grabbing market share means lots of work needs to be done.

  7. uncle168,

    that's why god is doing roaring business promising a place in heaven after you uplorry

    in reality even the middle class is screwed in a capitalistic and democratic facade when laws are erected to protect the wealthy who do nothing and walls to prevent those at thw bottom from climbing up

    even if there is no covid we would see revolutions in many so called democratic country like ours as social mobility is broken

    your children would follow your path of misery

    capitalism is a road to nowhere


    1. What should the middle class people like us do so that our children won't live in misery when it's their turn?

    2. uncle168,

      the more you want the less you have



  8. Hi Brian.
    I started reading your blog a few years ago and I have benefited from your analysis of stocks such as CDL Htrust and Goucoland. Just wanted to say a big thank you for all the analysis in your blog here.
    I also have 2 young kids myself and like you, I treasure the time spent with my family. I am fortunate enough in my work life that I can afford to prioritise my time such that my weekends and night times are always spent with them.
    Although I have about 1k in dividends per month currently, I realised that I much as I like to FIRE, I realise that it is not possible for me until ard 55 where I can have another source of income in terms of CPF drawdown. So, from now until 55(I am 43 btw), as long as I can prioritize my time to spend with my family, I am fine with this. Just sharing here. Please hang on during this difficult period and God bless.

    1. Hi Tonny

      Many thanks for your words of encouragement.

      It is a great relief to hear from someone who's also had 2 young children but imposing such optimism.

      We're in a blessing situation given how the world is right now we must count our blessing and turn this into a positive thing. March on!

  9. Hi Brian

    Life can be tough. But remember, good times will follow bad. We need to tough out the bad times. Conversely when in good times, we must remember to prepare for bad times.

    The FIRE movement doesnt apply to me because I am no longer young, but I do like and advocate the concept of FI. When you achieved FI or even get near FI, options open up and just knowing you have options remove a lot of life's stressors. You no longer feel trapped in your job, no longer feel the stress to compete for that promotion, bonus etc.. You can just cruise in your job, do your dues, and collect your pay knowing full well, you have your passive income to supplement your active income.

    As we are of the "older" generation (closer to CW age group), we did not know that what we were doing (ie investing for passive income) was actually building up to FI. We have built up three streams of passive income, namely dividends (from stocks, bonds and unit trusts), rental and interest from our CPF savings.

    And you know what we discovered from our long journey?

    First, the dividend and rental income streams are not reliable. Having gone through a few crisis (bear markets) we have seen our dividends dived, and rental incomes stopped! No tenant - no rental income.

    Second, the humble CPF provides a very good stabilizing force in giving us great peace of mind. It is a very stable and secure (or risk free) instrument to park your money.

    Third, we are our best assets. The three passive income streams are in no way able to replace our earned income - even when combined together. So if we were to retire, we will lose that one big income generating asset. And that is ourselves!

    Just to share with you our passive income numbers for last year (wife and I):

    1. Dividends = $78,800
    2. Rental = $37,000
    3. Interests from CPF (combined of all accounts) = $81,000

    Hang in there. Remember, good times will follow bad.
    All the best!

    1. Thanks, that's a lot of very valuable message from your reply and glad that you shared it with us.

      I like how you categorise your human capital asset and then having it drawdown as we age in reverse. Thanks again for sharing.

  10. "The millennials of today chose jobs that seems like they are enjoying it very much. Sometimes, I can't help but feel envy right there." You don't need to be a millenial to chose a job that you enjoy doing. By making good progress towards financial independence, you give yourself the ability to switch to a job that pays less but you enjoy more.

  11. Hi. I am going to be singing a different tune from the rest here, even though they all have your best interests at heart.
    Do yourself a favour, give yourself 1 hour each day to spend time with your family.
    I understand that in this current situation, everyone is fighting to hang on to their jobs. However, you really seem very unhappy.
    With every company cutting headcount, they will not be hiring someone to replace that malaysian colleague that quit. Can you foresee yourself doing this tirelessly for the next 1 year?
    WFH means no boss to breathe down our necks. They can't see if we take 1 hour of deserved break to fulfill a basic need, which is food and spending time with loved ones. Do it for the long run in this quest for financial independence. If you continue to bust your hump delivering 120% of your capacity, they will always expect this of you. Why not give 110%? It is still good. Be kind to yourself!

  12. Hi,

    First of all thank you so much for sharing your thoughts which I learned a lot from it every week.

    Hang on there for now, but I think you should discuss openly with your supervisor and HR. Your circumstances may be different but speaking from my experiences, a good leader and company will understand this and will try to find a solution. If your leader is not able to help you on this then there is really no point following them. It may not be the time now but it does not harm you to start looking.

    Hope it helps.

  13. Hi,

    I know the constraints of moving on and quitting the existing job due to the existing commitments. I think that the best approach is to assess the existing circumstance and see whether there are available alternatives such as possible action to reduce the existing commitment so that one will not be subject to the demand of the employer.

    I know that it is difficult. However, it can be resolved through deep analysis. Only one knows his/her own situation best and I believe that the solutions are there for taking and it requires some form of sacrifice.

    My two cents worth of views.


    1. Hi WTK

      Thanks, you're right.

      It's a coin of choice and at this point I'll stick out for longer while I tried to have my body adjust to the new norm of this sort of working. Tiring at first but getting adjusted slowly.

      I do have a target and goal in mind for certain goals I wanted to achieve. Hence I wanted to give it my best push.

  14. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    I was in a similar situation last year and had many times contemplated tendering my resignation without another job as a backup. I was fortunate to have an empathetic boss and I'm glad that I stuck to my current job given the bleak job market amid this pandemic crisis. Even though I'm still putting in long hours (shorter compared to last year), I've gradually adjusted my mindset to accept delays and errors in my deliverables as part and parcel of overloading. I'm not advocating you trade your quality of work for personal time. But remember we make our own choices and there's always a price for everything. Stay safe and healthy mate.


    1. Hi RT

      Please hang on there too as much as you can. Nothing is ever easy, less alone financial Independence. Unless it begins to affect your health, then I think we can have it push further. I'm trying to see if my body will tune in to the new norm, it's getting tired at first but slowly adjusted to it, almost like exercise. Hang on there too and stay healthy.

  15. Hang on buddy.. Everyone know the delay of gratification.. I am also one of your passive reader like AK and others blog years back.. Everyone wanna to achieve financial freedom including me. Mostly importantly, change your mindset. Be grateful, count your blessing rather than complain. If you really dunno like your job, find one actively in job search. Communicate and sit down with your superior, I am sure there is a solution to it. Upgrade your skill and mindset, end of a day. Be content of what we have. As long we can have 3 basic needs food water and a job, we are happier than those who are poor. Stay contented each day is the key of happiness during this cb period or cov 19 period. Hang on buddy!

  16. Hi Brian

    I believe what you shared is going to be a common trend (at least in the near term). You are not alone! I had also been assigned extra work (due to staff leaving), and with no replacement. Initially i do feel 'cheated'. However, i have come to terms with it and will view this optimistically - that I am more valuable to the company than the one leaving or let go off. So I am more grateful now. Not that I enjoy working my socks off, but rather, this period calls for a different mindset.

    I am cutting down on unnecessary expenses and like you, having mouths to feed is a real challenge. Family support is especially important now.

    I envy those who had achieved Financial Independence and had dreamt of attaining it in 10 years time. I do not have a portfolio size as big as yours. However, I decided to shift my mindset away from being too FIRE driven, to one of gratitude and abundance. I decided not to chase after FIRE. I will refocus my energy on my family, self, and work. I will continue to save and invest (where i like the opportunities). But money will not be the main motivator. If i retire later, I will take the job I have as a meaningful and engaging hobby or sideline.

    Just sharing my experience. Take care!

    1. Thanks for sharing.

      Indeed money isn't everything but like you I'm proud that I'm working hard (almost as hard to stretch as I can) to lead by examples to tell my kids that nothing in life is ever granted.

      I could have taken the easy way out by calling it a day but that wouldn't have made justice.

  17. unfortunately with your mortgage commitment, exiting work isn't a choice for the foreseeable future. 10k of property expense is no joke, just be glad you have a job, health, family, and choices. Many people don't have that

    1. Interesting why you think is a joke cos I didn't even reveal how much property rentals I am getting from the two we rented out.

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