Friday 16 March 2018

Turning 23

My birthday was on 10th March and this year was a little special as it falls on a Saturday and usually when my birthday is on a weekday, I don't really celebrate it due to school or work. So since this year, my birthday was on a Saturday, there was a celebration and my whole extended family celebrated my birthday with me including receiving another round of angbaos. I usually just have a good meal with my mum and brother if it falls on a weekday. As I get older each year, I feel like birthdays are a day for us to reflect on what we are ever so grateful for in our lives.

Since turning 23, my perspective on some things have changed and whether for the good and bad, there have been some changes due to the experiences that I have gone through.

Perspective on Money

I have started to value money a lot and not to spend freely like I used to in secondary school. This is due to all the part-time jobs, working experiences and also when my mum told me that she wanted to retire soon as she is very tired of her work.

My brother and I had a conversation a few days before my birthday because we do buy presents for one another.
Bro: "Hey, what do you want for your birthday?"
Me: "Well, I think at this stage I would prefer receiving money then getting presents"
Bro: "Me too"

I think recently both of us now know the value of money and how hard it is to earn it. My brother recently ORD and he is currently waiting to matriculate into university so he took up an internship with a Government agency and he was paid $600 for a month. It was pretty tight for him and lucky for him that he saved up during his time in army. So we now don't really look for materialistic items as gifts and would much prefer cold hard cash. HAHA.

Another thing that changed my perspective on money was the part time job that I chose to take up. In my polytechnic days, I worked as a waitress earning $8/hour and to me that was pretty good at that time. When I started university, my friend introduced me to tutoring and I earn $20/hour right now.
I teach tuition 5 days per week right now and I earn about $150 per week. Pretty neat for me as the locations are within walking distances for me from my home.

Without tutoring, I would have to spend about $150/$8 = 18.75 hours working in a cafe. While right now, I spend about 10 hours a week. This hit me hard when I thought about it one day, if I am able to increase my hourly rate means that I can afford to work lesser hours. And this brings me to my next point, perspective on education.

Perspective on Education 

I think in Singapore, education matters a lot. Being enrolled into a private university means that certain opportunities have been taken away. For example, when I was applying for internships, I was not able to apply to quite a few as they had certain requirements about the interns that they wanted. Also, I am studying psychology which in a sense is a very general degree and not very niche. I am currently trying to get into the HR industry having done one internship in HR.

I am hoping to build up my portfolio using more practical skills. Usually, private uni grads get a lower starting pay compared to our fellow local uni grads and with my degree, I am actually not too optimistic about getting a good job when I graduate in 2019. But I will have to work with what I have so improving and learning more is what I am aiming for.

Perspective on Family

Recently, my mum has repeatedly mentioned to me that she wants to retire soon and that her work is draining her out. During this period, I started thinking about expenses and how if my mum really retired, would she be able to enjoy herself? Being a single parent means that her savings are not very substantial due to spending on me and my brother. She is also a very generous person who buys gifts for people quite often.

The uncertainty that lies ahead worries her and also because my dad has incurred debt once and she had to pay back for him. It was extremely tough for her and I know that money to her is very important. Even though she does not have a lot of savings but I am glad that she still uses her money to travel and buy stuff that she wants because I wouldn't want her to be controlling herself just so she can save more as she is getting older and I feel that she should enjoy the companionship of her friends.

My brother has just ORD-ed and he is rather smart, coming from a prestigious JC, he is planning to study economics in uni and is currently in the process of obtaining a scholarship, still awaiting the medical and psychology checkup before he will be offered it. This will really helps to ease the burden on my mum and hopefully she can retire in the next 2 years or so.

It was a great celebration for my 23th and hoping 2018 to be a great year ahead.


  1. Hello!

    Happy Belated Birthday :) Hope that all will be well for you and your family in the coming years.


  2. Hi!

    Thank you and hope that things will go well for you too! Let’s work hard together:)


  3. Hi SG Investment Lady,

    Happy Belated Birthday!

    "I am hoping to build up my portfolio using more practical skills."

    Consider taking up programming and HR analytics?

    1. Hi Unintelligent Nerd,

      Yup, Coursera seems like a good plan for some course but so far, it’s YouTube:)

  4. Hi!

    Chanced across your blog recently and I must say that it is amazing for a 23 year old to be thinking so much about investments! When I was 23, all I was doing was playing games and betting on football!

    I love your blog, and given your young age, you still have a long investing journey ahead of you. You can afford to make many mistakes that older investors can't.

    My personal take is that Singapore is ultimately a very paper conscious society, hence it is important to focus on getting the right paper qualifications, because they will set you up for a good first job, which can have profound impacts on your lifetime earnings. With a good and steady income, we can then focus on investing it for even greater gains.

    Cheers, and hope to see more great posts in the days to come!

    Financial Horse

    1. Hi Financial Horse,

      I too think that Singapore is a paper concious society and it definitely will take awhile before things will get better, that is why I chose to take a degree after a gap year. It was because I realized that in Singapore paper qualifications are pretty crucial.

      Thank you for your support for my blog. I have roughly skim through your blog and find that the posts are informative for me:) will be adding you onto my blog list for easy access!

      Thank you!

  5. Hi Sg Investment Lady,

    Yes, hopefully one day Singapore society can look past paper qualifications, but unfortunately that day is not here yet!

    Thanks very much for your support, I will add you to my blog list as well! All the best with your education and investment journey, hope to keep in touch! :)