This will be a short post to capture my thoughts about growing wealth in Singapore. In light of the recent Budget announcements, water prices will hike by 30% in two phases over two years. Thus, it is not matter of choice for Singaporeans to consider growing their wealth to beat the cost of living. All Singaporeans must start the journey as early as possible.
Stop tracking expenses
Early on in my wealth journey, I confess that I did track my monthly expenses and personal income religiously without fail. But I had stopped doing so after three years because I noticed there were no significant improvements in my personal cash-flow. Instead of enhancing my wealth, the quality of life inadvertently dropped as I suffered from guilt pangs whenever there were unexpected expenses incurred from friends’ outings or wedding dinner red packets.
After a while, I began to realize that my life should not be controlled by a spreadsheet. I need to be larger than life and start living a life. After all, we only live once. We are born into this world to enjoy, not suffer. With the change in mindset, I started to empower myself by focusing on how to grow wealth through enhancing my earning ability.
What happened next was beyond my comprehension. Like many people, I initially thought that my life would definitely spiral out of control once I stopped tracking my expenses. However, the opposite actually happened to me and to be honest, I struggled to explain what went so right for me in the following years. But I firmly believe that in tracking my expenses, my mindset prohibited me to become a better person in the sense that it encouraged me to be very risk averse.
Start tracking your income
Instead of tracking my expenses, I started to track my income. And I have never looked back since. For the next two years, there were no significant positive changes in my personal finances. But there were no adverse impacts as well. However, things really started to change when I met the love of my life. That was a blissful and yet stressful period of my life as we planned to start a family of our own. Interestingly, that was also the start of an explosive surge in my income.
At that point of my life, I was mindful of the increased responsibility placed on my shoulder. I knew that with my salary alone, my family would struggle big time to cope with the housing loan, baby expenses, car loan and living expenses. I was the sole breadwinner back then and this gave me the extra motivation to earn more money. I did not track my expenses because that would not improve my financial situation. Instead, I focus on growing my salary through career progression in my job.
Focus on growing
Most people have a tendency to focus on managing expenses than growing their income. This is because human beings are hardwired to value more of what they own than what they do not own. When cash is in your hand (or bank account), there is a tendency to feel more in control than what you don’t own. Those who have this sort of fixed mentality do not possess the conviction that they can make big money through their own abilities. Thus, many of us buy lottery because we thought that would be the only ticket to achieving financial freedom.
The matter of fact is, we do have a lot of control over our financial destiny. We can actually decide on how much we can earn and the type of jobs to take on. I know this may sound cocky or unbelievable but it’s really about taking ownership of your life and charting where you think you want to be in the context of future tense.
For my case, I left my previous job to join my current company with barely an increment in the income. That was a calculated risk because even though I really need the money, I see the prospects in my job. Fortunately, I was proven right and through my hard work, my salary had risen by 120% within 6 years.
Do I want to relive that nightmarish period of my life again? From a financial viewpoint, of course not! Nevertheless, that trying period shaped my perspective on growing wealth and institute a new form of resilience in me. I thought that what didn’t destroy me would only make me better. It was not a straightforward choice for me to join the current company because there were a lot of factors that need to be considered but I am glad that I took the plunge.
Indeed, my job was not smooth sailing over the years. There were many ups and downs and it was certainly not easy money as there were sweat and blood incurred. I am not bragging my income but want to make the point that in order to progress in life, you must be able to identify opportunities. There are really dead-end jobs that offer limited opportunities to scale up the corporate ladder and then there are really jobs that can potentially create pathways for you to elevate to the next level.
At the end of the day, it is really up to you to identify the job that allows you to grow as a person and build your wealth. Growing wealth is not about cutting expenses and saving money. The process is about whether you are able to identify and seize the opportunities that are thrown at you. Obviously, there are risks involved and you might not get the things that you want at the end of the day. In that case, you need to readjust your strategies and move on double quick time to make up for lost time.
There are many financial bloggers who advocate tracking expenses as part of their wealth journey. But just think about it. Are you in control about the 30% increase in water tariffs? Some may argue that they would adjust their lifestyles to save water and cut their utility bills. But how sustainable would that be? Whether you like it or not, water is a universal need. There is no way to save money on water bills through lifestyle adjustments. You are better off finding out ways on how to develop income streams than wasting time on devising ways to cut expenses.
Do you think you deserve the good life? I am sure you do. Then you must stop tracking your expenses and start tracking your income and growing your future income capacity. You would realize that life is great once you start having a growth mindset. Enjoy the ride.
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SG Wealth Builder