early retirement extreme (SINGAPORE)

On Income Streams

I currently have 2 income streams. One from my full-time job. One from my part-time hustle. My part time hustle fully covers my personal expenses (except household and parental maintenance) as well as contributes a little to my monthly savings. I think more diversification is needed to ensure more stability.

1. I’ve been developing a blog for my part-time hustle to carve a niche in that market, and it’s been going okay so far. I make sure to post QUALITY content at least once a week or fortnight, and I get a few enquires here and there though all of them (insofar) have rejected my services when they hear about my prices (though not exorbitant, it’s still slightly higher than the market average, but you get what you pay for, in my opinion) For now, the goal of that blog is not to make money, but to advertise and showcase my expertise in that field. I am quite confident that if ever I lose my full-time job, my part-time hustle can be converted into full-time employment. But that’s not what I want though; what is important is the security it provides me. I spend about 3 hours on (1) a week.

2. I think I need to increase income from my part-time hustle. Right now, I get at least $600 a month from dedicating just Sunday mornings to it. Pretty decent. Some months, I get more. I think that could be increased to at least $800, for just 2 more hours each week. I really don’t want to dedicate more time that that.. This is the most immediate task on my list.

[P.S. my part-time hustle is currently still a job (not ideal, but it does provide security), not a business. Hopefully, with (1), it can become a business in time… who knows…]

3. After (2), I should start exploring other areas of interest, and try to make some money from that. This new income stream should serve 3 functions: (1) allow me to learn something new and useful, and/or to meet new people (2) be fun yet not time-consuming and (3) make some money (minimum wage is acceptable to me). I wouldn’t want to spend more than 2 to 3 hours a week on that.

4. Investment. I’m not too worried about this now. As Jacob wrote in his ERE book, there is no need to rush to invest during the accumulation phase. (I’ve burnt my fingers in the stock market before, so that was a good but painful lesson learnt.) That time should be spent acquiring investment knowledge. So I guess this is what I should do now. For starters, I should dedicate 20 minutes every day on reading up on investment techniques. That means a not so painful 1.5 hours a week.

On Lunch Expenditure and Office Lunch Hour

I am very pleased with myself. I’ve since weaned myself off spending money on lunch in the business district. Food is so much more expensive in the business district than in the neighbourhood. I (plan the night before) and make sure to bring food to work every day. Since there’s always so much food (which will go to waste if I don’t consume it) at home (mostly due to sisters’ “salarymen” habits), I pack them to work. It could be a piece of bread/ pastry and some fruit. It could be yesterday’s leftover dinner. It could be leftover roast which I make into a yummy salad in less than 5 minutes (cooking is such a joy and a useful survival skill). All I know is that without spending money, I eat food as good (most of the time more healthy!) as my colleagues do. My office, as most offices do, offers an impressive variety of beverages and snacks (e.g. biscuits and gifts from clients) which means… (1) never going hungry and (2) afternoon tea! I also frequently get called to attend client lunches/dinners where I get to meet interesting people and eat the fine stuff, ALL PAID FOR! Moreover, since I pack my own food, I save time (from not going out to join in the ridiculously-long queue for food in the business district) which I spend either taking a stroll (benefits: bask in nature, de-stress, exercise) or reading (benefits: hobby and to gain knowledge).

My mantra: I only pay for things (food) that I don’t see the value in or lack the requisite skills in making (cooking for) myself… like a great dish off a degustation menu or really good char kway tiao (with wok hei).

Due to my new habit, my daily expenditure is greatly cut. Unless absolutely necessary (like when I WANT TO/ HAVE TO meet a friend for lunch) and barring unforeseen circumstances, I only spend S$3 on/for work (100% transport cost). But when I do meet a friend for lunch, I make sure that the value of meeting that friend (which is often a permutation of e.g. lovely company, networking opportunities, establish favourable relationship that may be useful next time, new dining experience) outweighs the cost of the lunch.

Goal: I wish to start making some money during lunch hours. I’m going to bring my laptop to work next week to see what I can come up with. Will update.

On Work

I dislike having to work. I dislike having to spend the best parts of the day in the office doing corporate work. I spend about 11 hours a day on average at work (lunch included, which I either spend taking a stroll or reading) and about 2 hours on commute (I make sure to read on the train so it’s less of a waste of time). That leaves me little time to do other things… Not that I have other socially meaningful things to do, but that’s besides the point…

I don’t want to have to work. I want to be able to work when I feel like it and on my own terms… In fact, I don’t want to think of working in the traditional sense of holding a job and making money to put food on the table. I want work to beĀ “learning new things and having fun until I get bored or sick of it and making some money in the process” and that’s why I need to be financially free as soon as possible. Also, not working means not having to pay income taxes and also other miscellaneous expenses incurred in “having a job and making money” e.g. transportation and clothing expenses.

I’m VERY GOOD at being frugal, though not yet on the same level as my father and Jacob (from ERE). I lead and ENJOY leading a frugal life. Besides the $900 I contribute to the maintenance of my parents and the household (non-negotiable), I only spend an average of maybe $300 on myself every month: food, transport, handphone bills, and some entertainment. I honestly don’t even need to keep track on my expenses simply because I have become wired to spend only on what I need. There is not question on deprivation because what I want/value is mostly free… in fact, what I value the most in life is FREEDOM.

I bring lunch to work almost everyday (normally delicious leftovers from dinner the day before or 2 slices of bread and a fruit) and cook/eat whatever is at home for dinner. I exercise almost daily (free hobby!!) and basically don’t have anything to spend on on weekdays, save for transport (which costs me $3 a day). In any case, my daily expenditure is capped at $10 (transport expenses included). I wish I could run or bike to work, but I simply live too far away from the business district. I hope to find work nearby, but they are going to be crappy ambulance-chaser firms (which I’m honestly excited to try for maybe 3 months and then quit to explore something else…!) which once I enter, robs my prospects at entering more prestigious firms. So I would have to start from top tier firms, and then downgrade from thereon so that I can try my hand at everything.

I know I have to keep my job so I can continue to save, but every weekday is just such a dread… I just have no desire and motivation to get promoted or to climb any corporate ladder… When I go to work everyday, I’m only excited by new things that I can learn, and going for the quite-frequent networking lunches/dinners (yay) because it’s just so much fun (and enriching) to meet different types of people and the food is great. Once I find myself losing the “intensive” kind of productivity, which happens after lunch, all I want to do is to go and do other exciting things but I can’t because I’m stuck in the office. At night, I exercise, because I enjoy it, and there are simply so so many advantages to keeping fit.

I hate having to work for a living… I really just want to be free…and learn/ do exciting things (without fear) all the time…

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