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Monday, 7 October 2019

A Catalyst or Shit Happens?

Over the weekend, one of the promoter updated me something interesting about his workaholic well-to-do sister.

His sister has decided to call it quits in her mid 40s.


She's a vice-president of a global bank, had a failed relationship in her twenties, and had since focused only on her career. 

No boyfriends, no relationships. Worked from 8am to 10 pm, 6 days a week that kind...

Since she don't do small-white-face toy boys, she had earned and saved quite a bit. She owned 2 condos - one for staying, one rented out.

My spontaneous thought was it can't be she "suddenly" decided to embrace FIRE or woke up discovering she had plenty enough that kind of philosophical epiphany

I was right.

Saw the news this morning that global bank is planning 10,000 job cuts to slash costs.


That was the catalyst.

Imagine if after many repeated attempts she can't get back the role she's used to, and decided to retire early instead, she can easlly come into our community as an "instant" FIRE?

Mid 40s not "old" right? 

She's "financially free" in that she can live off her rental income.

Technically she's not fired or retrenched. She "fired" her company.


No goals, no plans to achieve FIRE...

Yet she's an instant FIRE!!!???

I wonder how would those who had FIRE goals like X amount by Y years feel?



  1. Aiyooo but this kinda thing she should wait to get retrenched leh. At least got silver/golden handshake. Especially if she's been there for quite some time.

    1. Good morning Paris time ERSG!

      Not everything about dollars and cents.

      In my previous company, when we merged 2 separate divisions into one, when the financial controller from my division found out she has to report to the financial controller from the other division in the new organisation, she quit straight away...

      No pay cut. No retrenchment.

      Its one mountain cannot have 2 tigress thing?

      Pride, self-esteem, self worth - or simply the fact cannot "tahan" her former peer is now her boss?

      Because there and then, she found out how the powers up there view her vis-a-vis her rival...

  2. Ya rumours had been circulating in UK/Europe for couple of months & news confirmed by financial media outlets last Fri I think.

    Alrdy quit?

    Maybe a bit more than meets the eye since rational people will simply continue wayang, go kopi breaks with outside connections for potential openings & worst case just wait to collect retrench benefits. Confirm will be at least 1 mth pay for each year up to 25 yrs .... unlike DFS LOL!

    1. Spur,

      There could be a million reasons to quit immediately instead of waiting out for the retrenchment benefits.

      For all we know, she could have gotten the news like you've said months ago, and got another offer lined up oredi. Buy the rumour, sell the news?

      Then again no.

      My promoter friend brought this up as his sister is cutting down the monthly allowance to their mom.

      Let's say his mom is used to a certain lifestyle because of his well-to-do sister, and is considering selling the remaining lease of her HDB flat back to HDB to make up the drop in "passive income".

      I had to diplomatically explain to my promoter colleague that the HDB
      lease buyback scheme is great for old folks with no dependents.

      Or have dependents that don't need their HDB inheritance - doing well mah!

      But for his case, if his mom proceeds with her plan, my promoter colleague will get a lot less, if anything at all, than by selling the HDB flat in the open market when his mom passes on.

      I consoled him that looking on the bright side, he won't have to increase his monthly allowance to his mom...

      No need to guess his relationship with his mom is not on the best terms :(

    2. Sigh ... that's why personal finance is not simply about investing power or studying to become a doctor or lawyer. It involves holistic way of life, personal attitudes and relationships & EQ.

      From purely money aspect, it's better to rent out spare bedrooms, or even do a downgrade to a smaller flat in the same estate.

      LBS involves selling back the tail lease to HDB at lower than market rate according to Bala's Table & the lease decay graph put out by ST in 2017.

      But anyway, HDB is not really meant for inter-generational "windfall" LOL! Children won't get much anyway unless the remaining lease is at least 70+ years left.

    3. Spur,

      Yup, LBS is a "bo bian" solution, definitely not the "enbloc" inter-generational windfall kind...

      Our ships sail in the same direction when it comes to the oriental holistic way of life when it comes to personal finance ;)

      In my next post, I'll poke that insurance company that puts out "wu liao" commercials that just focus on money, money, money when it comes to parents/children relationships...

  3. Good move. Quit while she is ahead. No?

    1. CW,

      Don't look at me.

      I've no clue whether its a case of quitting when we are ahead, or quitting in anger just because we can!

      A catalyst is just a catalyst.

      Some will use the catalyst as the "motivation" for them to find their own True North; ask why they get up in the mornings; and go on discovering who or what matters most (family or career or self actualisation)!

      Some will "blame" the catalyst and start visiting Hong Lim Park more often. Look! As born and bred, I'm "entitled" to...

  4. You know hor, VP in banking is just a senior manager equivalent. BUT civil service is worse, so many deputy directors/Directors. LOL I need to see their payscale to decide. I interviewed so many. Director pay 10+k, i was like huh??

    1. WolfT,

      Yup, just like police or army now when in comes to rank "inflation". It seems everyone is a sergeant nowadays!?


      Well, minting sexy titles is an easy solution to dangle the carrot in front of those who have holes-in-the-heart when it comes to esteem needs ;)

      But hey! Mid 40s got 2 condos is a lot better than the majority here with FIRE goals; or those who hope to make it big with equities so they can escape our HDB heartlands...

    2. Well, that depend on whether her condos are fully paid and where is the location of the 2 condo and what is the roi of the condo she rent out.

      Usually banking will have friendly handshake. 1mth per year of service.

    3. WolfT,

      The same goes for equities.

      A 3 million portfolio at mid 40s is just as sexy.

      Fully paid or half were bought on margin?

      Under water sitting on -50% paper losses or in the money with 50% paper gains?

      Concentrated in liquid big caps or illiquid small caps?

      The list goes on...


  5. Those kena retrenched on the same day of notification don't even have chance for farewell lunch or say goodbye and take care folks.

    1. As long got good retrenchment payouts can liao! Can always meet up for kopi & makan with closer colleagues on off days mah. :)

      Some people don't get retrenchment benefits. LOL!!

    2. CW,

      As someone who survived 2 rounds of retrenchments at Montgomery Ward,
      let me share its awkward for BOTH retrenched and survivors...

      Those retrenched would be thinking why these idiots still got their jobs? Why ME, not THEM?

      The survivors would be too preoccupied worrying would they be next to really care about their retrenched colleagues...

      When the realisation hits them they would have to cover the duties of those retrenched for the same pay, lets just say they got their own demons to iron out...

      Then they are those who are really pissed off as they wanted to be retrenched to get the benefits NOW as they already got backup plans. Idiot! Got to wait a few more months for the next round!

      Colleagues are colleagues.

      Friends are friends.

  6. I know of a number of outstanding school-mates from engineering school with first-class honours and good working attitude getting hit with retrenchment. If it can happen to good people, it can happen to anybody. Retrenchment is not uncommon.

    When I started out to manage my own money, the humble goal was to protect the family if I were to lose the stable income from job. Good personal finance means when bad times hit, family living standards doesn't get impacted. Damage from negative career events should be limited to ownself and not spread to the family.

    Having lofty financial goals like early retirement with the urge to get rich faster can drive one to make risky financial decisions, like over-extending oneself with multiple properties.

    Sorry to hear that the unfortunate retrenchment victim has to cut her mother's allowance and the mother has to consider selling the remaining HDB lease.

    1. hyom,

      A lot of newer terms in our community are merely old wine in new bottles.

      Since bibilical times, the wiser ones already knew we should keep something in reserve during days of plenty. When days of lack hit us, we can draw on these reserves. (Wait, do I sound like big daddy?)

      Then the question comes do we bury our reserves in the ground in fear of losing them?

      Or should we take calculated risks to grow and multiply them?

      Oh shit! Now I'm talking prosperity gospel! The Earn More camp! Yeeks!

      But then again, I believe VALUES are more important in personal finance than dollars and cents in 2 decimal places.

      That's a topic for another day ;)

  7. Hi smol
    Recently me heard some news or hearsay from my company that 1 of a big section that setup recently (maybe 2 -3 years) in my company need to cut cut cut... cut till the whole section gone... sigh
    Soon will be my turn althought i am at another section... maybe another 5years time.
    i am lucky to have this financial planning start early last last year (i think)
    Lucky me get to know some very knowledgeable friend here like bro cw, 假假 intelligent, captain n bear n a very busy spider :)
    Of cos big thank you to u! that u intro me to bro cw _/\_
    Suddenly have a feeling that everything is like plan to happen to me then 上天 want me to get prepare...

    1. Sy,

      You're welcomed :)

      Hmm... I think I should collect affiliate kopi from CW for introducing readers to him. LOL!

      Focus on things we can control or influence.

      Things we can't control we leave it to the heavens.

      I love this Christian joke:

      How to make God laugh?

      Tell him your plans...


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