Monday, March 29, 2010

Doubled My Money! But I'm Not Happy :(

I checked my portfolio today and I realized that I doubled the money (unrealized gains though) I put as capital from a year ago, including those that I freshly injected this year. My total capital base stood at $14,005 while my portfolio stands at Monday closing at $28,275 with $73 not used from dividends.

However, I did not really feel happy. Yes, the obvious point being that most of the gains are unrealized. But rather, I am beginning to feel recently that salary-wise, I might have been short-changing myself.

For those who don't know, I did a four year general degree at the National University of Singapore, but I did not enter the government industry or statutory board (yet) because I wanted to see what life in the private sector would be. Apparently, the harsh reality is that unless you are working for a offshore marine O&G firm or a MNC (most likely a foreign bank), you tend to get crummy pay at a SME.

I will post more about my job hunting experience when I am done with my examinations in 68 days. Right now, I can only say that I got hit in the gut when I realized that my friends in the above-mentioned places got anywhere between 3-4 months of bonus despite 2009 being the "worst year since the Great Depression".
Yes, I got a and kept my job. But then I did not get an AWS because it is not written into contract. And my boss reminded us that we are in the "worst year since the Great Depression".

Lots of Learning Opportunity

Lest i teeter into a ranting riot, I have to say that I learnt alot from my job. It has opened my eyes to the reality of the work while at the same time sheltering me from its vagaries. Without which, I doubt my portfolio would have been so well planned. Nor would I be presented with the opportunities to learn and meet people from the industry. However, when you make $1 and your friend makes $1.50 you will still be unhappy.

Of course you might point out that maybe I did not sacrifice anything and hence I was not equally rewarded. Well, I would say that my "risk-free rate" - a job that I will feel very safe in - would pay more than where I am now. The point really is, comparing yourself with your peers especially is not good for your mental health. We can't help but compare because out mental hard-wiring is that of social animals. Competitive consumption is an evolutionary mechanism as well as the source of unhappiness.

The Learning Point
The learning point here is not that I am grumbling. Rather, you have to take a rain check once in a while as well remember what did you stick out to do . Measure yourself to the objectives you laid out for yourself.

What I do is I review annually the aims I set myself when I graduated. And then assess the new information coming in, such as prospects in other industries or what transferable skills I have developed that can make me mobile. What have I picked up from this job so far? Who have I met that taught me something news?

If you go about your life like how you would to investing or stock-picking, I would guess you only make that switch once in a while. So guys, those who are reading this, take a moment's reflection and think how and what have you done to make your life (work, social, spiritual, financial) more meaningful and how much have you progressed?


  1. Hi,

    人比人, 气死人

    It's never-ending.

  2. as long as we are born social animals, our brains will cause us to feel funny when compared to the people around us... definitely infuriating.... and never ending

  3. hey but u made money alternatively wor. n people like ur friends they are most likely just getting what their companies are dishing u double ur money next year u double ur 28k again n next year and next year soon u will be able to quit ur job n be ur own boss playing the market n e rest of ur friends will just be working in the jungle with no way out. so lucky u

  4. hey anony,

    well i rather play with house money. the way i see it, making for my retirement is like CPF money. you cannot use it now but only later.

    also i think very hard to double my money already. i have been seriously very lucky thought not as lucky as i would have want to. but that teaches humility as well as makes you aware of your fallibility.

    will update this aspect of my life if things changes.

    happy trading week.