More ‘freedom,’ less money is okay, true?

I was listening to my favourite radio station Melody FM (Cantonese) and an interesting topic came up. Citing a recent study, the deejay said that both Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers prefer to have more freedom and is willing to take a lower pay to enjoy this ‘freedom.’ In fact it was surprising because she had expected just the Gen-Yers to have such mindsets because Gen-Xers are known to join a job and work till they retire. Gen-Xers are those born between 19xx till 1976. A few callers called in and many agreed, saying that the job that they are doing now is very time taxing, thus it increased their stress and they have no time for family.

Whether you agree with the conclusion or not, let me share how such ‘freedom’ come about. No statistics, just personal experience and readings for the past many years about what ‘time and money’ and why when we really understand about both, we can have both. ‘Freedom’ to me simply meant we have sufficiency in both ‘time and money.’ Truth is, even if we have time, but we have no money, what can we do with more time? Watch TV? If we have lots of money but we have no time, then we cannot even watch TV. So, only when we have both time and money that we truly have freedom. Not just one of them.

I took up corporate sales as soon as I graduated with a degree. First year was all about learning and by 2nd year onwards, I sort of excelled in my work and was given good increments and even promotions. I was even sent to represent ASEAN region for a huge annual negotiation in Tokyo Japan. At the time, my salary was considered better than average already BUT I did not have much time and during the budgeting season, I left office only at midnight including once at 2am. This continued in my second company where it was extremely tough in the first few years. It was all about meeting customers, presenting, sending quotations, do reports and this was repeated day in and day out. By the time I reached home, it was already 8pm or later and I had no energy left. I did manage to accumulate some savings and I bought my first property at the age of 25. It was just a simple 730 sf apartment for RM123,000.

This first apartment forced me to be every more careful with my money and four years later, together with my wife, we accumulated enough for a second property. Second property was an amazing thing because we realised that even though we had two properties, we were paying for just ONE. The other one was rented out. That was when I realised that investment may be the difference between having a full-time job and working till we retire or having the chance to retire earlier and do things which I may love. In other words, I may have the freedom of both time and money earlier than if I had only worked but not invested!

While I could not retire yet BUT I can choose to be in a job that I love instead of a job that I must work hard whether to not I like it. Thus, instead of thinking about career advancement or feel sad when I have just one month bonus every year when I was younger, I can focus on working happily while at the same time evaluating more investments including property, stocks and even insurance to protect whatever I have. When we are happy at our work, we naturally perform better. Hope everyone noted that freedom is not having less money and more time or that happiness is having more money. Freedom is about having enough money and sufficient time to enjoy it. We should take steps towards having that real freedom. To have more ‘freedom’ in future, it may be best to start with that first property investment that you are still thinking about. Just do not buy the wrong one for the first one. Hope everyone gets the freedom they wanted.

written on 7 July 2015

Next suggested article: Property investment? Time is essence.

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