For someone who earns below $1,000 per month, it can be patronizing to tell this person to save more… 

To get out of the poverty trap, the long term solution is to earn more. That’s why micro-financing is so much better in helping others help themselves. Compare this to the destructive effects of subsidy and aid – good intentions; unintended consequences…

Let’s say if you earn a good comfortable income of $6,000 per month, and you desire to own a landed property in Singapore, you do the math. Can you save your way to one?

Sometimes, we just have to earn more. Period.

Exchange time for money

For non-executive workers, it’s very common to volunteer for overtime and work on our days off, if we need extra money. I know; I was there.

For executives with no overtime pay, it’s to take a second job. Like giving tuition, teach at night schools, or work as consultant to companies if you are in academia. Sell property or insurance part-time anyone?

Students working part-time reading this, yes, some things don’t change even when you leave school. Don’t get discouraged. Thankfully there are many other roads to Rome!

Upgrade our skills

A more sustainable alternative to earning more can be to upgrade our skill sets.

A delivery driver with class 3 driving license may decide to upgrade to class 4 or 5 driving licenses – it’s the same driving, but it pays more as a container driver and/or if you can handle those heavy construction vehicles.

Learning a new language opens up a new market if you are a tour guide. Similarly, if a remisier learns Japanese, you now can tap the Mrs Watanabe business amongst the Japanese expat community here in Singapore.

And of course there is the paper chase very prevalent in Singapore. Just make sure your skill sets have improved at the end of the course; not just collecting a piece of paper.

You guess why I showed the driving and language examples above first? Practical skills and academic knowledge are not the same.

Get promoted

It’s no secret that the higher you are up on the corporate ladder, the more you earn.

That’s where the less you do, and the more you talk, the more you earn! Amazing!

For those who trade or invest during company time, you think your colleagues or boss not aware? You may want to read this: committed versus involved.

But if you are already “condemned” in your job, then never mind. Carry on.

Otherwise, do be conscious that success is what you have to give up to achieve it.

Switch to hunter professions

We may whine and bitch about the high minsters’ pay, but no one complains when superstar salespersons earn more than our Prime Minister.

Why? It’s meritocracy at it’s best. And the entry barriers are frequently quite low – can speak can oredi!

(OK, you may need at least O’ levels as now the regulators require more tests and certifications… No worries lah! If you can pass the Driving Highway Code, you’re safe.)

The highest sales earners are frequently found in hardcore sales activities – no basic salary; pure commissions.

Just think property and insurance agents – you see their photos in the papers when their puppet master exalt their success. But no free lunch. Can you imagine the stress and pressure if your photo is not in the papers?

By the way, is multi-level marketing still hot in Singapore? Norni juice anyone?

Be your own Boss

Being an entrepreneur allows you to leverage on other people’s money and other people’s time.

That’s where others work to help you earn more money. Cool or what?

Sometimes we don’t even have to be our own boss. If we are brave or lucky enough to work in a small startup for a pittance in pay, we can hit the jackpot if the company manages to thrive and makes an IPO. 

That’s where we can cash-out our stock options (would be worthless if the startup fails) during the IPO!

Hold that thought next time you apply for an IPO. Someone is rushing out; someone is rushing in.  No wonder Warren Buffet don’t buy during IPOs.

Probability of success diminishes with the higher payout

From the order of the various roads to Rome, can you see a pattern?

The higher the potential to earn serious money, the lower the probability of success.

It makes sense right?

How much can you earn in an endeavour if 90% of the participants succeed?

I’ve deliberately left out speculation for financial freedom – be it forex, equities, options, property, etc.

You decide where it fits.

It’s back to who you are again

A young fellow blogger hits the nail on it’s head.

Some of us are naturally risk averse. So we choose to play not to lose. We minimise volatility in our lives. Steady as she goes.

Some are crazy risk takers! They opt to take the Roller-Coaster ride instead of the Ferris Wheel. Today a millionaire, tomorrow bankrupt. Like a phoenix, they rise again to start a new venture all over again when spring comes. 

They play to win.  

Of course the price is you fall badly if you lose. Some never recover… 

No one route is more superior than the other. We walk our own path. 

Be at peace with who we are.


Singapore Man of Leisure (welcome to my blog; just google it!)