Open Letter to Working Class People on Financial Independence
Do you feel yourself slogging at work – getting tired of clocking in, clocking out routine every single week? The money is good for now though; supporting your current lifestyle, although you doubt that with the increment you are getting for the past few years, it is sufficient for you to retire comfortably & “gracefully”.
The only joy you feel in a day’s 24 hours is when you are back with your spouse and children.
Not to mention the predictability. You might be busy day in, day out with never-ending tasks/projects, but you don’t feel “fulfilled” any more.
Stagnant on both personal level and career development. Fire fighting the same crap everyday.
The passion has probably faded over the years. When a long time friend asked – “How’s work?” You said “Like that lo!” and try to avoid that topics.
Don’t feel so bad. He who asked that question is probably feeling the same thing but he is just curious if you are any better.
Fact is – your work has saturated, and it is likely the same with your salary.
But your every-upgrading lifestyle is an envy to many – on the surface, your aspirations lead you to live like the wealthy. You drive a nice car and paying monthly instalments which is 1/3 of your monthly salary. You indulge in hobby (cycling, anyone) which costs a few thousands – and bought the gear on instalments. You are obsessed with the latest smartphone and gadgets.
Here’s what you have at the back of your head – “With my extensive experience maybe I could jump to another company for a 20% salary hike.”
The reality for many company HR –
Once you hit late 30 or early 40 they are reluctant to hire you.
Yes, you are very experienced but so what? It probably costs a lot less to train and retain a fresh graduate to your level of expertise. They can work longer hours and more “hungry”.
You are just too “expensive” to be hired.
Then again for some job, your 20 years of experience is really one dimensional experienced repeated 20 years – if your job scope is the same and you didn’t initiate to rotate job roles.
To add salt to the wound, the paradox of being real good in what you were doing for the past 20 years is that the boss/manager who interviewed you might be intimated by your experience/competency. You are a “threat” to him. I know it’s not the norm but it does happen more often than you think.
But if you are just mediocre, why would they pay you so much in the first place?
See, it’s a chicken and egg situation. Either way, you are back to square one – that is, status quo.
Note 1 – This happens a lot especially in specialized skill set career like engineering. Unless you are at the top 1% of the food chain – like Director or VP.
Note 2 – one really shouldn’t compare to doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants, etc because these are some of the professions that spike in earning power after mid 30 or 40’s.
Then there is this constant fear of the next round economic downturn and survivability of your family. Back in our parent’s days where working in one company for 30-40 years is not bad at all – because that guaranteed you a stable job until 55 and then you can live by the pension money.
I doubt in today’s world you can securely stay in one company for 30-40 years.
To a certain extent – you feel like – life, isn’t turning out how you expected they would.
The more “daring” people will start to dabble in – forex trading, part time MLM or side business, over leveraging in stocks/property investments – hoping they will strike it big, somehow.
So that they can quit their day job, sipping Margarita in the Maldives.
Or finally pursue doing what you REALLY like.
But who’s kidding who? If it’s that easy, you would see your peers resigning every single week!
The not-so-daring will feel too paralysed to do anything AT ALL. With current obligations and a family to support, their hands are tied.
And not to mention time. Time is an expensive commodity when you have your own family. You can’t really concentrate on your work and managing your investments during working hours, when the market is in action, can you?
Now, to address the “daring” group of people
Really, one doesn’t need to take unnecessary risk. It is all well if you are facing the below scenario before you hit 40. Time is still your ally. I’ve seen clients who are facing this and I share with them – if you just stick to what you are doing, be frugal and start saving + investing, then you could be financially independent by 50.
I am not there yet but I known and see real cases. People I like to emulate. People like my pal – Lai Seng Choy – author of the book Freedom by Kanyin Publications. He’s just like mid 40’s. He started way earlier – in early 30’s. Now, he’s still working a day job as Senior Manager as a “past time” activity while passionate about coaching students in InvestBursa.com program for long term stock investments.
To support my point, I’d to quote Yap Ming Hui in his book – Set Yourself Free below –
You don’t have to take high risks to become rich. Achieving financial independence will set you free and you can do that with minimum risks”
If you’re put in a Formula 1 race car and told not to be scared as there’s nothing to stop you from driving at the same speed as other Formula 1 drivers. Only, you have never learned the special skills needed to control a race car.
The fact of the matter is that taking on more risks does not guarantee financial independence. Fraught with uncertainties, it might get you rich quick, but it can also ruin you. For instance, I know a 45-year-old bank manager who, inspired by Kiyosaki’s work, quit his well-paying job to start a business. 2 years later, his business is heading nowhere, he is on the verge of eviction, his wife has taken the children to live with her parents and the hire purchase company repossessed his car. Then, like my friend with whom I had breakfast, many have taken out maximum loans with a view to getting rental income and capital gain. Only, they cannot find tenants or buyers and struggle to make the instalment payments to the bank.
This is a more plausible and less risky solution to becoming wealthy. Instead of jumping straight into taking on more risks and acquiring debt, take a metaphorical step back and start by optimising your existing financial resources. The aim of doing this is to help you work towards becoming financially free. The by-product of this exercise is that you will acquire knowledge and experience about how to manage financial risks and investments.
To address the “not-so-daring” group of people
Adopt the Right Mindset and take the Right Action starting today, not later. Seek education or assistance to optimize what you’ve got now. Work on short term goals like contingency fund and on long term goals like retirement.
When you adopt this approach, rest assured you will enjoy peace of mind and have the ability to focus wholeheartedly on what you are good at doing now, while having a long term goal of creating more wealth regardless of the outcome. By far, this is a more certain, safer and fulfilled approach to inch closer to that elusive goal of overall happiness and financial independence.
*Disclaimer – note that I realized I am heading the path described in my late 20’s, so that’s why I break away and doing what I am doing now, with intense feeling of fulfilment every single day.
I don’t suggest you do what I am doing because the better options have been highlighted above.
I could help.
But first, a person willingness to be helped is important. Because until you yourself agrees that there is a problem, there isn’t much that can be done.