Thursday, June 07, 2018

F.U. Money is about reinventing the Singapore Dream !

This post came about because Kyith Ng from Investment Moats was giving me feedback on my slides for the upcoming talk and he wants me to see if I can suggest some alternative lifestyles or schemes for people to choose from after they achieve their financial independence.

After some deliberation, I think we can do much than that.

I think by now, readers of this blog knows that I've been blogging about the Death of the Singaporean Dream for quite some time. In fact, I think the Dream is already Dead. My generation's leaders murdered the Singaporean Dream when hordes of foreigners were allowed in to keep our salaries depressed. Now the Millenials don't buy the Dream at all, they know it's a Faustian bargain which is why they chose work-life balance over career ambitions.

Why ?

Because Gen-X knew what betrayal feels like.

Opponents of inequality talk about small differences in a family environment being magnified into serious socio-economic gaps in adulthood.  So much so that Low SES and High SES jokes are quite the norm in social media. It also does not look good that folks in their 40s face a serious threat from automation and technological shifts.

The first victim of social upheaval at such a profound scale is the older model of successful Singapore living which is that idea that, upon graduation, we can have hold a job for about 30 years and then start a family in the meantime. In reality, most of our careers will not even be half as long as our mortgage tenures. And yet the prices of housing continue to edge up due to the presence of foreign buyers.

A new schema for the Singaporean Dream needs to incorporate the latest and greatest in the field of Personal Finance so much so that F.U. Money is now more important than ever if you wish to craft a New Singapore Dream for yourself.

Tools to create your own Singaporean Dream needs to incorporate the following :

a) It has to be achieved faster and not slower.

While its great to delay gratification, our generation has less time than before. Our STEM degrees become worthless in half the time compared to the 1990s. Humanities degrees do not even command value right off the gates. Mathematical models allow speed to be achieved with a reasonable risk of ruin. We're becoming obsolete by the minute even as we hold day jobs. This is because different parts of the industry automate at different rates.

b) It has to be indifferent to paper qualifications

The workplace is full of biases that pay private degree holders about $1,200 less than local degree holders. For the winners of the academic race, that's fine and good. For the losers, they need to find a playground where they can be safe from discrimination based on academic achievement. The markets are fair arbiters of investment skills. I have never seen a stock pay a lower dividend to a private degree holder than local degree holder. Of course, if you receive poor training, you might not have the knowledge to buy the right stock in the first place.

c) It should be rewarding even if it's not done 100% right

Shooting for $2,000 per month in passive income is sweet but a lot of people will fail in achieving this mission. The trick is not to mislead the audience into thinking that it's easy. Saving 80% of your take home pay is as hard as playing championship sports. The trick is that meeting 10% of your goal should be rewarding as well. $200 in passive income every month can pay off your public transport expenses.

I'm still in the process of refining my slides.

If there is anything you'd like me to specifically address, feel free to share about it here.


  1. I have some questions that I am not sure if it's within the scope of your talk.
    1)Is using the HDB mortgage still the best?
    2) How can we achieve the passive income faster while salaries are depressed?

  2. I think I can drop some hints on (2) but (1) is not within the scope of my talk.

  3. Hi Chris,

    You may want to consider the following:

    1) Minimalist lifestyle.
    2) The non-necessity of full financial independence.
    3) Financial Independence is a mean to the end.
    4) Geo-Arbitrage


  4. Thanks Ben, I think I can cover all your points for my talk.

    But not in great detail.