Sunday, November 16, 2014

Random thoughts: The paradox of money

The paradox of money is:

The more one  have; the more insecure one feel or the more you want.

The less one have; the tendency for one to blow it all or become a spenddrift is higher.

I speak for myself and some of the people I observed. There are always exceptions or Maybe I am the exception.

When I am in secondary school, I do not actually have a low allowance. I bring $12 to school everyday. However, the problem is, I spend 3 meals out too. I will usually only be home after dinner time. My CCA is hectic, we trained 4 times a week and the training last till 7p.m. On other days, I am either out playing basketball leisurely with my friends or going to a friend house for video games.

I spent a lot of money on drinks. Because after a session of basketball or volleyball, nothing beats a cold coke. That's how I never manage to save on my pocket money. Yeah, I know, the shame is on me. My friend brought a 1.5 liter water bottle to drink whatever he is out playing basketball with us. Strange, I never ask why my friends have money for shopping and Macdonald but I never had enough. 

There were quite a number of occasions where I borrowed money just to have a drink or desert. I remembered hanging out at our favorite hawker center that sell deserts. I have no more pocket money, my senior told me to just order, he can lend me the money. I felt quite pie say, and asked if he is sure he had enough. He said no problem. When the desert arrived, he didn't pay for me. I was very embrassed, he was just playing a prank on me, and shouted in front of the auntie, "aiyo, no money also order!" He laughed and then paid my share. Come to think of it, I super no backbone then, I am sure I will rather starve or just walk away if I have not enough money now. Anyway, I hate that guy. I reminded myself never to do that to anyone. 

My spending habits remain very much the same even when I was in the first year of NS. 

My NS allowance will be spent within the first 2 weeks. Leaving me having to borrow or ask dad for money. I remember borrowing money at Brunei from my platoon mate so that I can enjoy ice Logan at every opportunity at that cursed  camp.

When is the turning point?

During my NS days, our vocation allowance is withheld from us until we officially "graduate". We will get our "back pay" from BMT onwards when we have our passing out parade. It's about several hundreds dollars for 10 months. The rationale was more than half of the cohort will not clear the course, now there is no more such arrangement, the recruits can have their vocation allowance too immediately.

I remember very clearly, in that month of February, my bank account shows more than 2.7 k. My first thousand in my entire life. I was so motivated. Although I did get a CD player and play station with the money, thereafter, I was scrimping and saving to grow that little "prize" of mine. When my platoon mates go to Bugis and Tampines  mall for nights off, I prefer to just go to Changi point to enjoy Bar chor Mee. I don't feel short changed not following  them to the town, I am not sure why I am not interested anyway. 

I even offer to do weekend COS or guard duty for $150. LOL

Towards the end of my NS, when I am more free, I did weekend work and night shifts at NYDC cafe. Ya, I know how to
Make the pizzas and mud pies there LOl.

When I got married, bought house bought car, got our first baby, money become left hand in, right hand out. I struggled very hard and tried to squirrel away some savings every month only to see it gone due to some unforeseen expenses. Thereafter, I become quite a spenddrift and 醉生梦死(self-delude)again. 

I realised I am not the only one facing the parodox. My relative who is very wealthy, spend excessively and more than usual after her son blow her lifetime savings on gambling. Her son clear all her debts, but still live like a king. His wedding costs is at least 4 times more than mine and he went Europe And brought back branded bags as gifts.

Some FAS students that my wife taught has the lastest phone and has SCV at home. I didn't even have SCV. 

Recently, I realised the cause of this paradox is "hope". When something happens and we lost a big chunk of our money, we lost not just money but our "hope" that a better future is gone. 

When our "hope" of a better future is intact, we are paranoid about losing it. 

It is easier to be 潇洒,when one has enough or its "hope" is fulfilled. 

Of course, values played a part too. 

The paradox of money and hope. "Hope" should be priceless and the light at the end of tunnel. 

But hopeless is a disease worse tha helpless. Never give up "hope"


  1. I can resonate with this blog.

    I do see friends behaving this way from personal experience. During the times when i am down and gloomy, finance and investment can be the least of my concern.

    I guess one has to come a full cycle to experience. Initially poor to having some cash flow, then back to poor again. Learn from it and become financially stable again. Once the cycle is complete, most should be wiser on how to preserve wealth and have "Hope" for the future.

    On investment front, i saw you mentioning about golden agri in one of your recent comment. I have entered a position on Friday at $0.46, day low. Might turn out be a quick trade if things goes my way. But if need to hold, also not a prob. Wait till next cyclic upturn.

    1. Solace,

      I think golden Agri is getting interesting too. I did not have time to do further research, I wonder how are the Malaysia and Indonesia smaller plantations doing.

      When some of them start to become loss making, I think the time I ripe for trough fishing again...

      The refinery rate at sub1 % is going to push the non- competitive conpanies into red

  2. Hi SI,

    Your blog post stirred back memories of my younger years. While I had a comfortable childhood and perhaps youthhood, the regrets come post NS that I didn't save and invest aggressively as I ought to.

    I was enjoying what life can offer until I met my wife who totally blew me away. She taught me how to be frugal and always be watchful on my finances.

    No point regretting, I guess. I'm glad that things are better for us now, though we are still working towards our retirement and foresee additional expenses as our two boys grow up.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. S-reit system investor,

      I think you will reach your goal, and sooner than you expect.

      You have something most do not, your wife share the same goal as you. 夫妻连心,其利断金。

      Just dun be too hard of yourself and loved ones. The journey and the end goal are equally important.

      Set milestones along the way and celebrate them.


      As for the 2 boys, once they go P1, it will be not so siong ...

  3. Bill Gates - If you born poor it is not your mistake, But you die poor, it's your mistake.

    1. CW,

      Now that's what I call Ice Bucket challenge.

      Thankfully, being rich in money is not the only life choice. Phew!

    2. die poor might not be your mistake too.

      If we die poor in SIngapore and maybe US, we have to bear some responsibilities. But if we born and die poor at some poor third world countries, we are not actually at fault, isn't it

  4. Sillyinvestor,

    Wa lau!

    The same 醉生梦死 in your hands has become totally something else....

    Jokes aside, I think you've probably realised you see things from a certain perspective.

    The geese have flown away, but their reflections are still pretty much imprinted in your heart....

    1. SMOL,

      you are writing poetically again, I don't quite understand.

      Can be more "layman"?

    2. Geese will return next year around the same time.

  5. If both are thrifty, then both reach their goal of achieving X sum by Y age.
    If both are spendthrift, both reach their goal of touring Europe by age Z

    Team A, reach financial goal but possible consequence could be missed family time

    Team B, it is out to your imagination. Begging on the street?

  6. haha, yes, my sister has this maybank credit card which gives a rental supercar for some amt spend.
    I have taken a ride in a 911 before...great feeling.
    but to own

  7. SI : Very inspiring read. There are always two side of everything, it's glad to see you on the right side now ;-)

  8. Sillyinvestor, just as long as hope isn't a trading strategy, then by all means never allow yourself to run out of that resource.

    1. Thanks lady killer,

      I am usually hope full


      hopefully, contentment allowed hope to be filled

  9. saw the brunei you are a CDO...

    1. Hi you must be from there too? Which company?

    2. 3rd coy 1999-2001

      you have a good blog here keep it up!

    3. Thanks! I am from 5th coy 1998-2000

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