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If you ask anyone about what advice their parents passed down to them when it comes to money, one of the most common advice is: Put away part of your money because you do not know what will happen in the future.
Saving money is nothing new.
No one will say they invented that. I certainly do not claim credit for that.
When I was growing up, mom and dad did not discuss much about money, but I observed what they do with it and the struggles every decision that they made involve money somehow. It drove home the idea that money is hard to come by and you need to take a great deal of care with it.
Since 18 years old, when I earned my first pay check, in the form of national service allowance, I have been putting away a portion of what I earned into savings or wealth building.
In my wealthy formula, I shared with you how I went about building my wealth, and what I have distilled up to this point that works for me, and I believe will work for many of you. Roughly how much I have built up is no secret, and avid followers will know where to find the figures. I do not talk about it openly because, it is not very important.
The more important things is whether I can help you get to where I am now.
Someone asked me recently how much do I put away monthly and my reply is that I am not sure. While I carry out zero-based budgeting regularly, I do not have this figure off my head.
My best guess is 50% of my disposable income. Disposable, which means my take home pay. To be fair it fluctuates, and I believe it was closer to 70% in the past when I started working to 40% currently.
To him, it is a sum that is unfathomable.
He is rather responsible and like most people, puts away 15% of his disposable income into savings. So he asks does he really need to put away so much and how does living with a 50% savings rate feels like.
The first question, I have written about quite extensively here on my site,but the second one, the feeling of actually doing it, that is something new to me.
So here is what I told him how it feels to put away so much.
1 You become frustrated by people not knowing the intention behind putting money away
A lot of people tried their hardest to understand based on what they know, and why normal people would want to put such a large sum of money away, but they often missed what I think.
When I was 24, I started aiming to build a portfolio of $135,000 by the age of 35 years old. Back then, I don’t even know such a thing called Wealth Machines. You have less blogs that explain what are roughly the right things to do with your disposable income.
I came out to work during the SARs period and the psychology is that you will never gonna get a pay increment in your life, and I pessimistically fixed putting away $500/mth into a Wealth Fund. I save much more than this $500. It is the way I compartmentalize how my wealth would grow, the other savings above this $500 is for rainy days or other purposes that I have not thought about.
Over time, people know you save, but they always think you are overdoing things, without understanding the true intentions.
The reality is that over time, there wasn’t any true intentions other than reaching financial security or independence.
The reality is that there isn’t so much things to buy and enjoy. You work, you are satisfied with how you mentality stimulating it is, you are ok with the people you work with and the people you meet. And you have this amount of enjoyment out of work.
What more do you need?
Excess money just funnels to emergency fund, which is why over time I was startled by how it has grown.
2 People look at you as if you do not have a life
There are some things that you can infer from most conversations, but they expect you not to put away so much because it is necessary to carry out some customary things that young, single male that have a working income should do.
They have your best interest and are afraid you missed out important life journeys and that you will regret them later in life.
What I felt they failed to grasp is that: If you didn’t even know you need to enjoy something, how can you regret missing out?
Sometimes because we lived a much hermit life and are less exposed to opportunities, you minimized yearnings as well.
You are going to get many of these over time, and you can explain to them your ideas (and hopefully you find more soul mates) but you can also choose to not do anything and let others imagine, gossip about it.
Sometimes they are right. You live a life that is less than deficient.
You got to be pragmatic in looking at your own situation, reflect and admit that there are some truth to that and perhaps you might want to do what they say.
3 You develop an awareness of cost and value of things versus your priorities
You save a lot because of a saving goal, but for myself, it is more of having a rather clear idea of what exactly I want.
If I had that, I choose what I want well. I discard things that are less of a priority in life, and try to find the best price for things that we value more.
If you develop an appreciation of your own priorities, you realize you might spend even less (when you pair this with less yearnings from #2) and put more money away.
4 You start seeing and exploring Possibilities and Models you can DO with your Wealth that didn’t occur previously
Unless you are the type who likes wealth building as an intellectually stimulating subject, putting 50% of your money away lets me explore some models that I failed to see.
When I put away 50% for 7 years, I started asking the question, so how much is enough? How would I know I reach my goal? What IS my goal?
It is where I understand the formula to financial security and financial independence, and further research tells me while these and retirement feels similar, these 2 are actually better than the idea of retirement.
I am also assured that when you placed your goals clearly in front of you, sometimes it is not about chasing the greatest return by pushing your money hard but to recognize that your goal might be smaller than what traditionally is (read the wealthy formula article).
I also understand the importance of recognizing what are your survival expenses and rich living expenses in the grand scheme of things.
Understanding these possibilities and how probable they are gives you excitement, contentment and calmness knowing things are within reach.
5 You really enjoy the luxurious stuff
When you save more, and honestly spend more time doing real work, you have less time for entertainment.
And when you have them, your satisfaction of these activities tend to be much higher.
It follows the theory that if you do fun things on such a frequent basis, they lose their uniqueness and joy factor after a while.
6. You have something that keeps you going
With the smartphone, I see many peers playing games where they level up their characters, chasing experience points to level up.
People like this kind of things, chasing milestones.
I just wonder why they do not gamify their life and do some goals like building a wealth machine.
When the money starts accumulating and you start realizing models and possibilities that defines your wealth goals better, such as a realistic $500,000 wealth machine in 10 years, you have something other than work that keeps you purposeful in life.
This is why there is no constant need to find ‘entertainment’ and lamenting ‘life is boring’
At the end of the day, things are really less bombastic as most think. I live a normal life. Some things you do, I did a much scale down version. That hasn’t bring down my satisfaction level.
I attribute the most important thing to understanding the concept of your priorities and how much is enough.
Overtime, it really becomes less of putting away 50% but more of, in daily life, I only need less than 50%.
In other words, its the spending equation then the saving one.
The savers would think this is a normal routine, but if you are a spender, can you imagine putting away that much and still be quite satisfied with your zest in life? For the savers who also have a high savings rate, do you have any realization that you encounter, only when you embark midway into this journey?
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