Updated – More freedom but less money?

If you know Cantonese, there’s a radio station in the morning that you could listen to. Melody FM. Haha. Yes, usually only those closer to 40 year old are listening. If you are English based, then BFM is a good one. Please do listen to stations which helps us to improve our lives and not just listening to latest songs and some jokes from the deejay. Anyway, there was this interesting topic about freedom versus lower pay between Gen-X and Gen-Y. Gen-Xers are known to work for a long time with the same employers. (At 40, I have only changed job 3 times thus far.). Well, Gen-Yers are usually working for more freedom and surprisingly according to some surveys, are willing to have more freedom for less pay. 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. There are just too many things that they have to do and even when they do more, their pay remain low. Of course, these days, we can find many of these younger people drive GRAB on weekends too.

I think the solution is not about having more time and less money. 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? Well, even subscribing to more channels on Astro meant more money.  I know, even if we have lots of money but we have no time due to work, then we cannot even watch TV. My conclusion is simple, the freedom that we are talking should be on more time and more money to do more things we love. Not just one of them.

Just before I reached my 21st birthday, I took up a corporate sales job. It was 22 days after I am home from Bristol, UK. It was a very steep learning curve within the first few months because working well was everything about managing relationships. Well, from 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 with a top telecommunicaton brand. 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. When the new GM did not appreciate me enough, I joined my second company. It was still a tough life 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. Fortunately, I saved a bit and managed to accumulate some savings to buy 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 have 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 only 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!

I am very far away from retiring BUT after nearly 20 years of working, I can choose to be in a job that I love instead of a job that I must work hard whether or not I like it. Thus, instead of thinking about career advancement or feel sad when I have just one month bonus or lesser 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 too. 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.

updated on 4 Dec 2017.

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