Photo by Pickawood on Unsplash

The price of moving out: When staying in cost more

I scream. And scream. And scream.

Three times, as if employing the best practices recommended by many presentation experts on the rule of three. As the last bit of this loud and high pitch tone escaped my throat, there are some mumbles that I can’t bear to hear anymore.

It all begins when I decide to move out. At the age of 31. In which, in all aspects, is a very late age to move out, even within Singapore context. The current governmental policies favour a family-first approach, whereby marriage is the earliest one could get access to accessible public housing.

Housing and singlehood

As of 2020, the median age at the time of first marriage in Singapore was 30.4 years old for men and 28.8 years old for women. After speaking to a handful of my single friends in the same age bracket as I am, it appears to be common for singles to want to move out. In fact, there are recent articles on The Straits Times that support this observation.

Younger, single and financial stable singles are moving out of their parents house, even if some might have to pay of an upwards percentage of close to 35% or 40% of their income.

“Are you going to forsake the (financial) responsibilities of this household?” I was being questioned.

Being single, and viewed with lesser financial commitments seem to be an implicit signaling mechanism that I could afford to part with a bigger portion of my income.

It is a breach of trust between the two parties as that question implied that I am not going to contribute due to the fact that I’m moving out. And that the main interest of me as a person is my ability to provide dividends like return. Of course, that is not the case, but the explicit fear or the major concern makes it seems like money is the biggest problem and point of consideration.

And to view our offspring as dividend paying machines is the most hideous reason to have children in the first place. But that’s an article for another day.

If only money is the problem.

Mental health and personal growth

The actual fact is that money is the least of the problem. In fact, if money is the problem, all the more I should move out.

When most people think about income, especially for people with a more traditional blue-collar/employee mindset, they have a tendency to think that it is fixed to a certain extent. And more often that not, their source of income is a fixed unit of tradeoff for time.

There is nothing wrong in that mindset or that way of life. But it is not the life that I envision myself in.

When I make the decision to move out, I have two main motives in mind:

  • Better mental health and mindset
  • Exponential personal and finance growth

Better mental health and mindset

I will be the first to admit that I hold a value system that could be drastically different from many Singaporean.

The Singaporean dream, at least for my generation, is to graduate, get a good job, marry, start a family, educate their children, get grandchildren and live happily ever after. I’m don’t want to have most of that except for the components that are relevant to my professional growth.

As a person, I value independence, freedom, learning and the creation of value.

I’m not a family person and I prioritise career (which might not be the traditional sense when people think of career) over most human relationship and I have long make peace with it. Though it is not without struggles of people telling me along the way that I am most likely mistaken, or that I have some emotional issues that are resulting me to be a little unconventional.

All of us have emotional issues and baggage of our own. And me, being an aromantic, does not diminish my value as a person, in which certain group of people will insinuate.

There are period in which I genuinely thought that there is something very wrong with me, and that I’m weird. Just because I want things that many people don’t want and I don’t want things that most people want.

But I discover myself, and make peace with myself. And I want to embrace my identity, flaws and imperfections and all.

You could imagine that this value system does not sit very well with the folks with a more traditional mindset. It is also compounded by the fact that there are a lot of occasions in which I do not want to be talked to. To be honest, that’s me, majority of the time at home.

Even if I am seemingly doing nothing, I could be thinking about something or having conversations with different perspectives in my head or I just genuinely do not want to do anything or be bothered.

While all these might seem trivial, there are some other factors that are not convenient to be made public that could be detrimental to mental health from my perspective.

I believe good mental health as a base in which we could propel ourselves to a better version of ourselves.

Exponential personal and finance growth

People have very different mindset when it comes to finance. It has taken me close to a decade to clear many of the money blockages that comes from a family that has a dysfunctional relationship with money.

“Money is the root of all evil. To get rich, you need to be unscrupulous. Capitalism is evil. I’ll never get rich”. These used to be part of my belief repertoire.

And as you can guess, I was never having a lot of money during those days. I believe subconsciously, I was self-sabotaging myself. I’m not saying that someone can’t hold those beliefs and get into a comfortable financial position, but it doesn’t work for me.

I’m not romanticizing on capitalism. Personally, I think it is a system, that has levelled the playing field more than many other system. But it in itself is not perfect. However, before we complain about the flaws of the system, we need to scrutinize our participation in the system. Our very own money flow and actions have the voting mechanism in which direction the system will grow.

Back in those days, as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I was earning around $50 to $100-ish/hour for the work done when I’m physically present. One of my highest deal was closed at $200/hour for a corporate stint. These quotes are of course not including the time travel and preparation. But I earn just barely enough for daily expenses as a whole.

Since then, I have grown a lot. I still think these experiences are crucial for me to grow my acceptance of money and to see it as a value of exchange.

This level of acceptance of money has allowed me to look at the market objectively, be it when I’m interacting with financial instruments or in the job market or in other aspects of life in general. Undeniably, I’m not hundred percent clear-headed and I still make a lot of mistakes.

But I know that I make those mistakes because I’m wrong and not blame it all on the system. That is not to say that the system is always right in it’s own sense. Personally, I will say the system by itself is neutral, and that the players in it are the ones to skew the perspectives and the rules of the system. There are many ideologies that could look good on paper, but few could exist in reality without speedbumps due to the complexities of human nature and the world we live in.

What does all this got to do with my own personal and financial growth, you might think?

Environment is crucial to me. An optimal environment keeps me motivated and hungry for more things.

For career, it is needless to reiterate my dedication.

For trading, I know this is something that I could crack, even though I make multiple faux pas in the market. Every single day that I spend watching the market, keeping notes of my trade, reevaluating my trades and researching on the market make me a better trader.

I know I can be better. I know I can be better faster, …

If I have my focus on it, and that I don’t have to expend my willpower on other stuff, or interactions with people on a constant basis.

If I have my space to think.

If I can harness my effort to be better, no matter how molecular the output might be.

At the end of the day, the money expended on moving out will probably just be fractional to the rewards that I can potentially reap by optimising my headspace and the output of my time. This is but just a hypothesis for now. But I’m willing to take on this risk/reward ratio as a speculator of my life.

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Frontend dev. I like my coffee with milk. Obsessed with the construct and potential of human. The Geek at www.thegeekwing.com.

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Wing Puah

Wing Puah

Frontend dev. I like my coffee with milk. Obsessed with the construct and potential of human. The Geek at www.thegeekwing.com.

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