Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Go East, Go West - Meet Same Place


Like US sitcom spin-offs, the paragraph I wrote at the end of my last week's post, I believe, is good enough to have a proper blog post of its own:

Maximum Pain Vs Maximum Sheepishness

"Another interesting observation I would like to share with readers.

This Tarzan and me are going in opposite direction - he adding to CPF; while I taking as much out as possible - but we both have the same destination in mind. Wink.

The 8 immortals' analogy probably flew over your head if you're not Chinese, or Chinese banana...

OK, this New York analogy clearer.

To get to New York from Singapore, we can fly to London, and then New York.

Or from Singapore to San Francisco, then New York.

Earth is round.


You can verify what I say with your own anecdotal life experiences.

1.  Two young female fresh graduates - one decides to marry young and be a stay-at-home mom; the other embarks on her corporate career dreams.

30 years later, both now are living in landed properties. 

(This is adapted from a Straits Times article decades ago where it featured a tai tai making more money from moving private property 3 times than her peer who got promoted to CEO.)  

2.  During my time in the 80s, those who aspire to university would choose the Junior College route. Those who want to work asap would take the polytechnic route.

Seemingly different paths. Yet years later, everyone is also a university graduate! 

Polytechnic graduates can go overseas to continue their university studies, study part-time, or work for a few years, save enough, then own self give "scholarship" to own self!

3.  Two young boys living at those 1.5 room HDB flats at Mei Ling Street. One studied hard, got bursaries and scholarships, became a doctor (or lawyer if you prefer).

The other dropped out of school, joined a gang, got involved with illegal betting, loan shark activities; etc.

In their late 30s, both ended up in Changi Prison.  

(Got read in the papers doctors/dentists cheating big daddy with CHAS claims? Or molesting their patients? How about lawyers absconding with clients' money? Its FTX on a much smaller scale.)

4.  Two management trainees started their careers at a local hotel chain. One decides that rolling stone gathers no moss. First job is also last job. Stayed in the same hotel for 30 years. Play the local born and bred card.

The other decides to follow the ang-moh expats, every few years jump to different hotels all over the world. International career is good, better, best! No?

In their early 50s, both got retrenched due to the stupid Wuhan virus epidemic.

(Does it not look a bit like Buy-and-Hold versus Trading?) 

5.  Panda Portfolio Hits All Time High

Read the comments amongst 3 old fogeys.

CW and I are strolling down the mountain, while mysecretinvestment has 4 more years to go before calling it quits. (I believe he is likely to move the goal posts if his landowner offers him a "minister mentor" shepherd position. Wink.)

Both of them are planners and goal setters. Must be an education thing...

I less formal education. I do first, then beg for forgiveness! 

Some see differences; I see similarities. 


  1. Why do highly paid professionals still want to cheat for more money? Money is never enough! :-(

    FIREers feel that their money is enough or more than enough. :-)

    1. CW,

      We are the real people real story when it comes to "what's next"?

      So far so good... We have not crashed and burned yet!

      That meant we are not relying on minimum PC requirement for "enough" ;)

      Higher inflation and mortgage rates will probably wipe out those on Lean FIRE - digital nomads/bloggers/influencers surviving on USD $1,000 passive income per month in Bali, Phuket, or Chiang Mai...

      Wait a minute - USD$ 1,000 is around our CPF FRS right?

      Hmm... Maybe CPF can "sell" Lean FIRE at age 65 to make Full Retirement Sum sexier?

    2. Hi CW,

      "Why do highly paid professionals still want to cheat for more money?" This is too harsh a statement to make.

      The reality is that not everyone who wants to work can get work. Then to get the "highly paid" position at an advanged age is even more difficult. If you are in an advanced age and get high salary, it means you are worth something to the employer. They need your expertise & value your contribution.

      Am doubtful people can "cheat" their way into such positions.

  2. Hi SMOL,

    We will all meet our maker at the end of the day no?

    The difference lies in the journey to reach the destination. Each will then have his / her own story to tell.

    Some will go with regrets and unfulfilled ambitions and aspirations but the "lucky" ones will go fulfilled or with little regrets.

    So which route should one choose knowing the destination is the same?

    1. Hi SMOL,

      People cannot FIRE once past 55. They are too old to qualify for FIRE.

      People in my age group can only FART. Financially Assured Retire Truly (or Totally) meaning no part time jobs etc...

      There was some debate in the internet about whether a person over 55 qualifies for FIRE and some wise guy came up with the following :

      Retire before 45: FURY
      Financially Unfettered, Retire Young.

      Retire above 45, before 55 : FIRE
      Financially Independent, Retire Early

      Retire after 55 : FART
      Financially Assured, Retire Truly / Totally

    2. mysecretinvestment,

      Success is what we have to give up achieve it - SMOL.

      I am very grateful and full of admiration of Lao Lee in what he has achieved for himself and Singapore.

      What he has sacrificed to achieved it is clear to all a few years after his departure...

      Then we have those not very educated old couples in their 80s at my previous Tanglin Halt flat.

      Staying by themselves, fiercely independent, not to trouble their grown-up children.

      CNY, their children in their 60s, come with grandchildren and great grandchildren.

      Tiny HDB 3 room flat, filled with of sounds of laughter and merry.

      Which route to take?

      Own feet, own self know which shoes suit us best ;)


      Those who lived their whole lives in accordance with other people's wishes are most vulnerable on their deathbeds.

    3. mysecretinvestment,

      Give chance!

      Big daddy's plan is to have retirement and re-employment age at 65 and 70 by 2030.

      Since I'm a cheerleader (snake oil), I'll spin retirement before age 65 as "early retirement"!


  3. I like this question about what is the difference betw a styrofoam cup vs a ceramic cup. Dun get lost in reaching our final destination.


    1. AT_AT,

      Let's me illustrate from a Zen perspective.

      It's the empty space within a cup that's providing utility.

      Once we realise it, whether the cup is styrofoam or ceramic matter less.

      However, the exterior form of the cup matters a lot depending on what "illusion" we want to project to others.

      To impress the panties off the ladies, lead crystal glasses or gold goblets work better than styrofoam cups...

      But if the lady is dying of thirst in the dessert, even if it's water from a paper cup, it's my life for you!

    2. Wonderful sharing! Thank you 🙏

  4. Another example: A married couple without kids bought 5 houses. Another married couple raised 5 kids. When both couples retired, both had more than enough income to cover their living expenses, the former from rental income and the latter from allowances from their working children. Of course, the assumption here is that both "ventures" were successful.

    1. BeeT,


      I cringe whenever I hear some in our community automatically assume those who don't seek financial independence/security are stupid or plan to fail...

      Not when it's a case of the more we "invest", the more we lose on the Earn More path...

      And especially after all the sound and fury, it's merely "hiding" in negative yielding Save More vehicles... Where's the compounding?

      That's why I rather be lucky than smart!

      Life is not a straight-line extrapolation ;)


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