Wasting Time

A friend of mine told me the secret of getting rich. She said, 

"Instead of trying to scrimp and save in order to reduce expenditure, one should be focusing on increase income." 

Words of wisdom. The rationale is, the is a limit to reducing expenditure but the potential to increase income is almost limitless. 

I don't disagree with that notion. The concept is simple and it makes sense. What I question is the practicality of it. Take maintaining our body shape for instance, everyone knows if you burn more calories than you take in a day, you will lose weight. Simple concept, makes sense. We know that if we eat the right amount of food (i.e less than what you are eating) and the right kind of food (i.e less the yummy food and drinks you add to your diet), it actually saves us good money on food cost alone and huge loads of money on slimming centres that you don't need to visit. If human beings are rational, we'll have a lot more shapely folks walking around with heavy pockets. In reality, we have fat asses. Going by how many slimming advertisements we are spammed with on the newspapers and the TV, we know that there are enough fat asses in the market for slimming businesses to pop up like mushrooms. 

So if a concept is simple and it works, why don't people practice it?


The path of least resistance. That is the route most commonly chosen by most. It is a hassle to exercise. It takes effort to fend off colleagues who wants you to join for lunch everyday. It takes time to prepare a healthy meal but only two seconds to relay your order to the hawker uncle. Ice cream is too delicious to reject. Leafy raw vegan dishes makes you bored. You may have to travel a longer distance to get healthier food. It's too hot, too rainy, too dark, too noisy to take a run outside tonight. The path of least resistance. 


What makes you think it is easy to increase your income, if most human beings are too weak willed to control their diet? How much more work do you need to do to double the income you are having today? There are avenues to increase it ten-folds or hundred-folds (ask Kong Hee), but how many in a million are willing to walk their talk?

So I say, before taking on lofty aspirations such as tripling your income, look into reducing your expenditure first. That is the path of lesser resistance and you have the convenience of doing so. We all know convenience is costly. The air conditioner has gradually evolved from a luxury goods to a staple everyday "need." In the name of convenience, fanning oneself with a satay fan isn't cool anymore. Travelling on the MRT used to be celebrated by the common people but these days it is deemed fitting only for smelly peasants like me. "Not convenient enough," they said.

Mr Ang was right. If Singaporeans do not see the folly of their key purchases, there is no point comparing kecil kecil things like chicken and vegetables. We pay half a million bucks for a roof that we cannot pass down to our grandchildren and we pay 0.3 million in our lifetime for a transportation tool.

Let's just talk about our transportation tool here. A car. Call it whatever you want. Your private cocoon, your threatre of wet dreams, your mobile oasis. It's still just a fucking transportation tool. Worse, in Singapore, you pay $114,000 for a shitty car only to find that you can't even smell a fart 10 years later. 
Some of you will even be buying 3 new (not new not satki) cars in the span of your career.

I don't think you can even call that a highly depreciating asset. For if you are unable to create a value (tangible or otherwise) with this asset that is worth more than it's depreciation, it is just a toxic liability.

I hate it when people tell me 钱是可以赚回来的. Because it isn't true. Whatever you wasted today is gone forever. You are simply using the time of tomorrow to earn back the money you lost today and deluding yourself your impulse buy is covered. 

I really wonder.

Going by public transport, less the cost of car and its maintenance, will easily net a car leaser a positive balance of $100,000 in 10 years or approximately $300,000 in 30 years without factoring inflation or increasing prices. Many old farts ended up "retiring" with less than $300,000 in the bank. I wonder why they bothered to work to their wrinkled skin if they just take $150,000 and retire 15 years earlier. Ah.... no. If they didn't have a car, they would have spend it on designer kettles, air conditioner, hacked walls, premium toilet bowls, projector screens and other "necessities."  Life is indeed hard in Singapore.

If we are to spend way lesser than we do, there is no need to work as long as we have to. The more we spend on silly things that don't matter, the less time we have for what really matter. As for my friend, all I had to say was 一寸光阴一寸金,寸金难买寸光阴. She understood and was really happy I brought that up. I wish her a blissful journey. See you in Perth 2017.

1 comment:

  1. Cars are essential because time is precious in Singapore.

    Also essential when you have young children and elder folks at home and need to be ferried around.