Author: Early Retirement SG

What if we had no choice?

I always say, we always have a choice. Cos we can always decide whether to buy something or not. Decide to continue working or plan to leave. We can change our jobs if we are really unhappy. But what if we had not choice? Have you watched the “Last Samurai” starring Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe? When males are born, they become warriors, samurai, archers. Females tend to the farm and home. And that’s it. There’s no debate. The main part of the show is showing the lives of these samurai, their dedication to their skill, honour and pride....

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Why we should not use the words “Early Retirement”

It’s a touchy word. Not many people think about retirement, let’s not even talk about early retirement. ​This is somewhat a continuation from my previous post. Let’s look at the normal form of retirement. Usually someone works, employed or self employed for a number of years then at around 60-70, he “retires”. And then, they usually take care of grand children, or travel or play golf, essentially, enjoying the fruits of their work for the large part of their lives. At this point, they may or may not be financially independent. Then let’s look at all the other folks...

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The truth is, no one really wants to retire early

As I type and post and talk to more people, I come to better understanding of myself and new ideas and conclusions. And I see in Singapore, we have this frugal community where a bunch of people think that being frugal is good and we find that we would like to retire early cos we don’t really like the work that we do. But do people generally want to retire? Much less retire early? It may surprise many of you, but do people really want to retire? The truth, I think, is that no one wants to retire. Think...

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People usually don't think about this when buying insurance

Insurance is a very interesting topic. Why do you buy insurance? Does everyone need insurance? Usually people don’t think about this. Most of the time, the discussion is led by the financial adviser, cos basically, most people don’t know much about insurance to even comment. So why DO you buy insurance? Insurance companies say to PROTECT. Sounds nice right. That’s why some people mindlessly buy insurance. Cos they feel they are protecting something. Insurance is there to cover the estimated financial loss due to an incident. So when people buy insurance when they buy a car, they are protecting themselves...

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Any regrets?

End November, I would have been unemployed for 3 years. I do think about it a lot. Do I have any regrets? The truth is, I don’t know. I can’t confidently say yes, I have no regrets. I also know I can’t say no, I have regrets. I’ll explain what I mean. This is the 2nd time I’ve had a period of unemployment. So I understand what it feels like through the whole period. At the start, it’s always fun, there’s the freedom, then after a few months, there’s some fear and uncertainty, then that feeling will pass then...

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What does time buy?

Does money buy time? Or does time buy money? It’s probably a mixture of both. In economics, we try to specialize so that we can produce more. So each person tries to specialize in something and produce a lot of that single product, then after that we trade with each other. Theoretically, after trading, everyone is better off cos there’s more products to go around. So in this equation, money is the medium of trade. We specialize in our jobs, spend time doing the task, then we get money for it, then we use that money to buy stuff...

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There's always tomorrow

Today’s topic is about procrastination. When I was a financial adviser, my manager told me something which I found really made sense. “No one wakes up tomorrow feeling good and wanting to buy insurance” It’s pretty true. Most people don’t buy insurance willingly. Usually, some financial adviser would pester the client until the person signed the policy. There’s very little people who would wake up and think, ok let’s arrange a discussion with someone and do some planning. There are some, but there are most people who just think they can do it tomorrow. The problem with “tomorrow”, is...

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Do you feel “Paiseh”?

You can tell someone “Paiseh”… meaning… please excuse me, beg your pardon, sorry So if you bump into someone along the street, you can go “paiseh paiseh” You can feel “Paiseh”… meaning… somewhat embarrassed, loss of face So if you tell your friend, “Yesterday I fell down whilst running for the bus, felt so paiseh.” But you know… feeling paiseh can affect our decisions in life. It happens very often, and if we don’t overcome it, it may affect us financially or we may lose opportunities. A very simple example… I’ve walked into a restaurant (Hoshino Coffee) thinking it...

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Different people have different needs

Personally, unless it’s really needed, I don’t like to give recommendations for a lot of things. Cos everyone has their own desires and needs, everyone wants something differently.So unless the what I’m suggesting is really good with a low “cost” (tangible or intangible cost), I usually don’t take a side. I’ll just highlight it, point out some pros and cons, and if someone wants to take the suggestion then I just leave it to them.  I’ll give some examples on instances when I think something is good, better than what I think they would decide on, but I have kept...

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Why my topics have changed

That’s the comment I recently got from my friend. He’s a really close friend so he mentioned that I don’t really talk much finance stuff anymore on my blog. He says, it’s like I’m just talking about life in general and the stuff I notice or think about, and every once in a while then I’ll do a finance/frugal post. So my answer to him, and probably some other readers who might wonder why I haven’t been doing much finance topics… is well… there’s really nothing much to say anymore. I told him… look… how much can I talk...

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How do normal people retire?

I’ve never really thought about this. Most of the time, we always look at how we are going to retire. So all of us know all the forumlas and everything. Save more, spend less, invest, etc… All so simple right? So many financial bloggers, financial advisers, etc, the numbers are pretty standard. But as we read in the newspaper, many people, do not think about or plan for retirement. I discussed this with a 30+ year old colleague once, and he said he did not have much savings. He typically spends it all. I discussed this with a few...

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Is there an optimal size TV?

Is bigger always better?I bought myself a 42 inch TV set when I first moved in. It was cheap so I bought it. I know of my neighbours who have bought 50″ TV sets, some were triple of my price.So I thought to myself… Really? Is a 50″ TV set 3x better than a 42″ TV set??? This got me thinking. Is there an optimal size for my TV?Previously, we used to have 20″ TVs and now, those are almost non-existent.Then 32″ became normal.Then now, even my 42″ TV is considered small. So what do I mean when I am...

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How Hollywood shapes our reality

We humans love watching shows. I suppose, we love stories. I’m sure when people lived in tents or in deserts, they shared their stories and adventures with each other. And of course, I’m sure they all loved to add salt and spices to their stories to make them more exciting. So maybe in the desert, someone encountered a bandit and somehow managed to escape, but when rebelling the story, they say he says he escaped from 10 bandits and managed to kill 2 during his escape… And I suppose, it was fun entertainment at that time.I mean if we...

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How much power do we use?

So yesterday I wrote a bit about the amount of water we use and looked at it in a different way. So I thought, might as well do the same for electricity as well right?Ok so my utilities bill says that I use 241 kWh. Some sites state 1 liter of petrol gives 9.7 kWh. So I’ll use that as an estimate.So this means that to power my whole house for 1 month, I will be burning the equivalent of 24-25 liters of petrol. My electricity bill is $49.94 so I’ll use $50 for calculation. Every week, I pump...

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How much water do we use?

I’m sure most of us take water for granted. Just turn on the tap and water flows. We use it for washing, drinking, washing, washing…. Mainly washing. So I was thinking, how much water do we really use? The answer seems very simple. 5.4 cubic meters. That’s the number on my utilities bill. But what is 5.4 cbm? Ok, that’s 5400 liters of water, or 10800, 500ml bottles. 500ml is the PET bottle that we usually drink from. Divide by 30 means the number will be 180 liters per day!!! If we drink 10 liters of water a day...

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