A Fool and his Time are Soon Parted

After the post "Wasting Time" [link] was posted, I seemed to have received a flurry of disturbing comments. One of the knights, Bob, even commented he felt he was getting lectured by me when he was reading through it. (No I wasn't) Then we have Valerie stating, "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."

No ladies and gentlemen, don't get me wrong. I am not understating the usefulness of having a car. You don't have to tell me what you do with the car to prove how important they are. That isn't the point of my original post and I'll try explaining it in another way.. Before that, let's put things straight first. The notion of saving precious time in Singapore with a car boggles my mind. 

How much time can you save a day in Singapore if you own a car? 30 mins per trip, as compared to travelling to work on the MRT? With the current traffic conditions on the tiny island, that's very generous of me already. The amount of time you spend stuck on the AYE and finding your parking lot later, you might be only 10 minutes worse off if you travel by the MRT. So, say, you save 1 hour of precious time in Singapore a day for 2 main trips, how much is that time worth?

Someone came up with an estimate of the "True cost" of car ownership in Singapore [link] and came up with the figure of approximately $240,000 over the course of 10 years with the warts and all included. Granted there are irregularities in his calculation, I'd say the estimate is conservative, considering the writer did not factor in the definite future increase in running costs across all categories. Having to spend at least $240,000 in 10 years, your time saving strategy will cost you a minimum of $65 a day, higher if you fail to save at least an hour every single of the 365 days in a year. If you earn $65 an hour and work 40 hours a week, you must to be earning $135,000 per annum to offset your cost. You have to be earning more than that in order to "save time." 

If you have $65 a day to spare, and put it an investment that gives you an average of 3% compounding interest over the span of 10 years, you will be withdrawing $276,000 when your investment mature. For simplicity, if you are still earning $135,000 in 10 years' time, you can afford to take 2 years off employment and not be worse off financially as compared to if you bought that car. Comparatively, if you save 1 hour a day (make sure you do that every single day) with your car, you will be saving 7300 hours in 10 years and that is 304 days. Now tell me how much time your children and elderly prefer from you, 2 years or 304 days?

Also, tell me about how you save 1 hour on the days you take your car to do servicing, repairs, vehicle inspection. I am discounting breakdowns because public transport breaks down too.

Millions of young children and elderly travel on public transport every day in Singapore. That  alone makes a car a non-essential. If we cannot even differentiate between a want and need, we will never be in full control of our money. A fool and his money are soon parted. Every time.

Travelling in public transport is no doubt way less comfortable than a car. However, children do not see the world with the eyes of an adult. I could remember many bus rides with my mother in cranky, noisy non-air conditioned buses. How she taught me where to press the buzzle that got my eyes gleaming in delight. How we panicked when the rain started splashing in. I would imagine how my parents had to keep an eye on us, the young children and watched out for my grandparents, the elderly. The circumstances also asked for plenty of physical contact among my family to make the rather rocky rides safe. I am not so sure if travelling in a car offers the same amount of eye contact, holding of hands and communication.

So what does your time saving offer you?
Which way to go

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