Friday, July 23, 2021

Random thoughts: FIRE

Financial Independence was a goal or rather dream I had when I was in the 20s.

Today, I just had this silly thought. I am not too sure if I can have a reasonable retirement, and I do hope to work as long as possible. However, I realize the working as long as possible didn't really turn me off. 

After I took a back seat in my career, I do have more time during the school holidays. Even we could not travel, and have quite a long period of time of doing "Nothing". Reading newspaper, researching on companies, exercising etc. 

Things I hope I can spend more time on when I "semi-retired". Yet, truth to be done, it is only enjoyable for the first few days, when I recuperated. Thereafter, I am actually yearning to go back to work, and felt that I am kind of wasting my time. 

It then suddenly dawns on me, how lucky I am, and also how thankful I should be. 

I enjoy my work, and need not retire early to start doing something I enjoy. 

What I do not have is just financial independence. 

This is a wonderful job, a job that lets me connect and also learn to let go. This morning, as I sips my coffee, I reminded myself that I should just do my best, and enjoy my time as much as possible with my pupils. They will leave me in a few months, and I should make full use of my time with them. This desire to make full use of time NOW, is how I always think of my time with my dad. Before he became so weak, and was down with dementia, I tried to spend my time with him, bring him out, and have dinner. It wasn't always wonderful time, but looking back, I have few regrets now, that he passed on.

Every year, I send off the graduating class. I usually bond quite well with a number of them, and funny and clinch it might sound, closer to the end of the year, I do suffer some mild "separation anxiety"

Connecting and then letting go. I considered as Zen Training too. Every year, a few of them becomes more than just pupils to teach, but sweet memories and "friends"

Getting a pay doing all these is just really striking lottery every working day. 


  1. Hi,

    It is better to go with your heart. It will never go wrong.


    1. I know what u mean. But I would say never. Those KTV guys follow the heart wor. Hahahahahahah

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  2. As employee, achieving financial independence should be our goal; and then we can go with our heart as future work load, stress, environment or bosses are not within our own control.

    Unexpected KPIs may be pressured on us to either get out or "happily" accept lower bonus/compensation. No matter what somebody has to be moderated to the lower band. It could be us!

    1. CW,

      It is definitely a worthy goal. It is an insurance against the change of circumstances. In my case, I always wonder what projects or directions our new leaders put on us.

      As much as possible, I will fulfill all tasks, but I do not think going back to how I work years ago is very appealing, beyond getting a pay in return for service.

      However, if there is no FI, having some RE is cool too. Don't u think

  3. Good that you find meaning & sense of purpose in your job. This is one of the most important factors in keeping a person on the job aside from good remuneration.

    Having attained FI in 2016 at age 55, let me share some personal thoughts on FI and FIRE. But first, let me define what is FI. My definition of FI is where my passive income is able to cover my annual expenses and then some.

    In 2016, my passive income was $146,000 and that was able to cover our projected annual expenses in retirement.

    Benefits of being FI:
    1. It makes you view work differently. Work becomes optional as you know you can NOT work and still survive. You start to feel much less stressed as you dont need to compete for that promotion and bonus. And ironically you start to enjoy your work and do it well!! And with it comes the bonuses!!

    2. Our passive incomes are from dividends, rental and interests (from our CPF OA & SA). And they come in every few days / weeks. So it feels like you have income every now & then. Very good feeling when you see them coming in. Very different feeling from depending on just salary income once a month.

    3. Passive income boost your savings rate. So when we attained FI in 2016, we saw that we could save 100% of our salaries and increasing each year!

    Cons of FI:
    1. You may start to slack off at work

    2. Every little annoyances at work can become a trigger to make you quit work.

    My thoughts on FIRE.

    I personally feel that young people should just aim for FI but not the RE part. Attaining FI is when they can really boost their savings -- saving 100% and more of their earned income!! So after having attained FI, they should continue working to boost their savings as much as they can to build further buffers.

    Also RE at an early age without something meaningful and purposeful to fill their time can be detrimental to their mental and physical health.

    I am now 60 and still working and growing our passive income. The below is how we planned our passive income to sustain our retirement years (combined for couple):

    60 (now) to 61:
    Dividend : $64,000 pa
    Rental : $35,000 pa
    CPF interests (from OA & SA) : $55,000 pa
    Total : $154,000 pa

    62 to 69
    Dividend : $64,000 pa
    Rental : $35,000 pa
    Interest (OA & SA) : $55,000 pa
    SRS drawdown : $43,000 pa
    Total : $197,000 pa

    70 and above
    Dividend : $64,000 pa
    Rental : $35,000 pa
    Interest (OA & SA) : $55,000 pa
    CPF Life : $55,000 pa
    Total : $209,000 pa

    Get to the point where work is an option and you can better enjoy it.

  4. Hi MSI,

    Thanks for leaving a comment. Congrats on your success in FI.

    We are on the same page regarding FI, and i do more or less define it the sane as yours. However, expenses are bound to increase with health insurance making a significant part of cost.

    Maybe i am a bit morbid in my thinking. I do wish to die in work and not calculate the drawn down rate, if i enjoy my work.

    Financially, we have gotten better and i kind of everyday gam sia ti gong for being the lucky few not adversely affexted by work

    FI indeed is great to have, will try to get and in the meantime, i pysc myself ghat i have already retired.

    I just didnt save 100.percwnt of my salary, but i am looking forward to a new day. Best blessing perhaps. Live today to the max. I dun have the con of FI, i still in survivor mode in work, but promotion is no longer part of the game.

    I accept bullshit in work because i think i am also. Kind of full of shit myself. If one day, i loss everything, i will see what i can do to continue retiring in a different way.

    Enjoy your golden years, u earned it and deserve it

  5. Hi bro SI,

    I envy your love for the job. I once envy mine too until the economics for my industry does not do justice! Your industry is sustainable and it should be able to keep you passion going until the end!

    Congrats for finding your love for the job. It’s not easy to find a loving job in Singapore. Happy for you.

    1. Thabks for the encouragement.
      Yup. Nice to have sonething to look forward to and still earn

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