I met a friend for lunch recently. Every time I see him, I’m always awed by his financial situation.
He earns a very healthy six-figure salary as a senior professional. But unlike most of his peers, he is extremely scrupulous about his spending.
He is the sole breadwinner of the family, stays in a HDB flat (fully paid-up), and doesn’t even own a car.
That is almost unbelievable in today’s materialistic Singapore.
It’s not to say that he is a miserly Scrooge. As far as I could tell, his only indulgences are fine dining restaurants and daily taxi rides.
He is now in his late 30s, and has been completely debt free for the past few years. He could afford to quit his job and still support his family for the next few years.
How many of us could say that?
There was this time I attended a course conducted by Ms Teo Hee Lian, who is an associate trainer with the Civil Service College. It was a writing course for Singapore public servants.
She was an excellent trainer, but it was not the rules of grammar that stuck in my head. The only thing I could remember was that she had zero debt and could walk away from her job any time she wanted. Being financially free empowered her. She shared her story probably because most of the trainees were fresh graduates.
Regrettably, I failed to heed her lesson and I suspect that most people are in the same boat.
We tie ourselves down to 35 year property loans and 10 year car loans without so much as blink of an eye. We splurge on unnecessary luxury items and change hand phones every year. We dine in fine restaurants every time we eat out, instead of reserving them for special occasions.
We are spending tomorrow’s money today.
So, are you a saver or a spender?