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A Singaporean’s Dilemma

Growing up in a middle-class family, my parents have always stressed the importance of having a good education.

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree was all they asked from me.

While my grades were not always stellar, I was fortunate to have a relatively smooth-sailing journey. In 2014, I graduated with a bachelor's degree from Nanyang Technological University.

The Grad

Straight out of school, I rejoined a new school. This time round my role was reversed, I became a teacher of the school. A teacher’s starting salary in Singapore is comparatively high than other industries. I was lucky to save up for marriage and a flat. W and I both earn a decent keep.

We lead a comfortable life and we own a car.

With my career in school starting to take off,

I began to aspire for a private condominium just like everyone else.

Properties always seemed like a smart thing to invest in Singapore. We started researching and weighed the options. For a decent size condominium, we would prefer anything more than a hundred square metres. We did not mind living in the city fringe. After all, Singapore is such a small island. The price of a condominium would set us back at least one and a quarter million! The large amount of money that we have to put aside got us evaluating the worth of fulfilling this Singaporean dream. A million dollars of debt to be repaid with interest over the next twenty-five years of our lives. Astonishing, I must say.

As a young fresh graduate back in 2014, I started reading up and dwelling into the topics of financial literacy. Many financial bloggers that I followed recommended reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad which was essentially about his poor dad while being highly educated, was in the rat race all his life trying to pay off his bills. Now that I mentioned it, tying ourselves down with such huge debt would probably make us his poor siblings!

Our decision to move (back for W) to Thailand was not an easy one. As a pragmatic Singaporean, I started having many worries. Perhaps I thought too much of my career as I was on track in fulfilling my career aspiration, which would in turn increase my income capacity. Moving to Thailand, the utmost worry would definitely be our finances.

Being in Singapore and staying put present a straightforward and predictable lifestyle.

We both have a stable job.

We will probably get to stay in a city-fringe condominium and perhaps drive a better car, go on an annual holiday trip to the Maldives.

Work goes on till sixty-five when we retire and start withdrawing from our monthly provident fund.

Life is almost comfortable but lacking a little spark.

On the contrary, living in Thailand presents an exciting prospect. Opportunities are aplenty. We would be able to pursue a new career together and attempt to fulfil the Millennial’s dream. It is almost impossible to run a cafe in Singapore with the sky-high rental and manpower costs. Seeking up North makes sense. W’s family is there so we are not going in there without some support.

It is now or never. We will probably need to adjust our lifestyle, perhaps earn less and live more.

#anaveragesingaporean #financialgoals #acomfortablelife


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