Economic Success

From the internet you meet all kinds of people. It seem like the 'silent majority' of Singapore have started to talk. Oh wow, they sound dreadful. Why, am I surprised? They come in hordes and they echo the same sentiments. The government is untouchable because they bring Singapore economic success, the armor of invincibility. With economic success, every fault can be forgotten, every sin can be forgiven and every damage to the country and its people can be overlooked. For the greater good, for economic success.

Did the zerg know what they are talking about? What does economic success mean to every one of you? Never mind the economy, what does success alone mean to you? If you can truthfully list the first five criteria of your definition of success not monetarily related, I am interested to meet you personally over a cup of tea to hear you out. I will even write a book on you and publish 1000 copies out of my own pocket and distribute them in front of the Istana in your honour. 5Cs, 5Ds, 36C, whatever. To most, being successful is having a lot of money and/or having a lot of stuff bought with money. Success and money are synonyms for any true blue Singaporean. Let's not act holy and pretend otherwise. It is in our DNA. Blessing or curse, that's up for interpretation.

For an investor, the holy grail of personal economic success is financial freedom. In the unlikely scenario that a Singaporean like you do not understand what financial freedom means, it simply mean you will have enough income to maintain your current lifestyle, such as standing in the middle of Orchard Road digging your nose all day without having to report for whatsoever duties previously required of you to get the dough coming in. The concept of financial freedom is very simple. It must not be misunderstood with having a lot of material trophies to show the world that you have attain success. Someone who lives on $2000 a month can be as financially free as someone who lives on $10,000 a month. The crucial element is one living sustainably within his or her passive income year in, year out. Thus if you are checking out a guy's car, living quarters and the number of Hello Kitties on his display rack for financial success, you may be looking the wrong way.

The thing about financially savvy Singaporean is that the majority of the people are still lusting after trophies instead of building a your own income well which will provide you a source of wealth that will bail you out of the rat race and redeem you from the financial slavery that you have been sold into. It can be done even if you are a normal salaried worker. Our friend Dividend Warrior [link] started from nothing a few years back and is already half way through his financial freedom. Stock investment is only one of the many other ways to achieve the goal. There are other ways to do it but oddly enough, we see a huge percentage of us preferring to pay $70,000 for an COE or display Hello Kitties as a show of wealth instead of building a personal empire that feeds yourself for the rest of your lives.

So what does the economic success of a country mean to you? Highest GDP per capita? The ability of building a garden with 1 billion dollars? Establishing top rankings on global financial charts? Or the fact we have many more modern buildings clad in expensive finishing than our neighbours? We have to build more to attract more to gain more so that we can build more. Does this remind you of the guy who needs to drive a more expensive car as an image requirement for his new higher paying job? I am not suggesting we should forego progress as a nation but we should understand that if there is a diamond standard of economic success to a nation, it will still be financial freedom. Without being anywhere near that, what do we speak of having attained economic success?

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