Sunday, January 30, 2011

Investing for retirement or financial freedom?

Do you know something, I don't have to work tomorrow cause I have applied for leave. I know that with the extended weekend, I should be enjoying myself. I did to a certain extent on Saturday by collecting my tailored shirt from a small tailor as well as playing an immense amount of Street Fighter 4 at my friend's place - arcade controllers included.

However, with the non-stop raining on a Sunday, I found myself indoors (I did play soccer in the rain for a while) and reading so many financial blogs. What caused me to worry is that when compared to most of the bloggers my age, they seem to be so much better financially prepared than I am.

I do understand that they have put in a lot of sacrifices, including doing many part-time stints, but the amount of wealth they have accumulated during the short time that they had graduated from university, makes me feel extremely embarrassed. 

JW for example has achieved $100,000 in net investments excluding unrealized gains. That is four times more than what I have at the moment, and from what I can tell, he is the same age as me.

Putting things into perspective
 Although I feel bad about myself, I suddenly had a thought and hence the reason for this post. While I am currently in a comfortable job, I understand that very soon, my parents and my future spouse and children will become a financial liability, whether they intended to. What worries me is that I have to make provisions for them while at the same time growing my investment portfolio. Bingo! That's the problem!

The problem or at least the emotion I am feeling at the moment, is that I am not sure whether I am saving for my retirement or for my financial freedom. There is as difference. For retirement, it means I have accumulated enough wealth to lead my desired lifestyles for X amount of time when I stop working permanently, due to statutory requirements.

For financial freedom, I think what it means to me is that I have enough wealth or assets, to allow me to say " F*** You!" to my employers. In a sense, financial freedom means being able to retire early and working is just for killing time and play money.

Here is my insight. Even if I were to make provisions for my parents' health and a future house and my kids education through university, I think I will be able to save enough for retirement with my current portfolio as well as a lower sum of money injected each year. In this aspect, I think I should still be able to retire at 55 as I had planned from the beginning of this blog.

The big however is that I may not achieve financial freedom anytime soon. I do not foresee myself saying to my boss "F*** you, I have had enough!" before I am 55 simply because I do not have a good enough base. To a large extent, when I was studying, I did not try to make side income giving tuition. That would have jump start my wealth accumulation phase.

My conclusion today is that people tend to get confused by what they are saving /investing for, myself included. And to make things worse, our objectives change as we grow older and feel more different about things. Recently, I developed a fear that I will be over priced in the job market by the time I am 35!. Hence I suggest as usual, setting up a blog or a personal journal to keep note of how you have developed as a person. That way, you do not end up worrying unnecessary over the weekend no matter how damp it may be.


  1. Read? More Money or More Pay and then take a closer look My War Room (7) - The Last Mile

    The clue is at the chart. More pay or more money?

  2. can we have both lol? i think its always more money or more time bah... but it is always harder to measure the opportunity cost of time till we have lost it...

  3. Eh, pls don't compare leh... I had a boost with a scholarship....

    Your percentage gain is huge, much higher than mine too...

  4. yah... i mean i had that factored... if you read closer, i wrote that the issue really is about running your own race.... no matter how seemingly difficult it is because our brains are wired to find frames of relative reference, meaning compare with our peers...