Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Build A Life You Don't Need A Vacation From

YOLO and FOMO.

Two relatively new terms that only sprung up within this century - You Only Live Once and the Fear Of Missing Out. A few fellow financial bloggers I enjoy, Mr. 15HWW and La Papillion recently wrote on this topic, and I wanted to chip in with one of the best advice I've ever read:



My job allows me to meet many senior-ranking folks, including CEOs, MDs, Directors or Chiefs of departments. A common recurring pattern I've noticed is how almost everyone talk about looking forward to their next holiday. A SVP (senior vice president) I work with always talks excitedly about his upcoming travels to the next exotic location every time we meet.

This is also the same for most Singaporeans. 

In my last job, I felt as though I was being worked like a dog. The company was very strict - I had to be in office before 8.45am and could only take my lunch at 12.30pm - 1.30pm (there were no exceptions). Our phones and computers were all tracked, and we had to record our activities within an internal system every day before we were allowed to knock off. We were expected to do all of our research and preparations before coming into office - office hours were strictly for discussions, meetings, operational paperwork and calls only. 

Everything and everyone was being micro-managed down to the smallest details. Outside of work hours, I was either at (compulsory) dance rehearsals or back home at my laptop preparing my research for the next work day. I was surviving on only 5 hours of sleep every day, including weekends, and I felt more like a zombie than anything else.

I was unhappy, stressed and so burnt out from work, and it felt like I was permanently counting down to my next vacation. 

In the end, I decided that I didn't want to live that sort of life anymore and resigned. I took a slight pay cut and went to a smaller company which I had turned down a job offer from six months ago. Thankfully, they hadn't yet found anyone suitable to fill the role, so I got the job.

When I resigned, I made a promise to myself to build a life that I didn't need a vacation from. 

Today, I love what I do, I'm in better control of my time and activities, and I no longer feel as burnt out or unhappy like I used to be. The only vacation I took this year was to Langkawi for a simple beach holiday, in contrast to the various (and more far-flung) countries I momentarily escaped to in my previous job. I'm still far from a truly free life (my finances simply aren't enough at this point to afford that), but I hope to reach it before I'm 40.



We've been taught from young what success (should) look like - a high-paying job, a fancy job title, driving around in a sleek car, a landed apartment... But no matter how many branded goods you own or how rich you are, all the money in the world cannot buy you happiness.

Why do I save so much? Many ask why I "ill-treat" myself when I choose to eat at hawker centres instead of the cafes that my peers are dining at, but I don't feel like I'm depriving myself at all.

YOLO and FOMO are concepts used by many to justify their spending - but they are meaningless trends to me. I get shunned by some for being different, but I really don't see the need to follow what others are doing, nor follow the chase for material wealth at all.

Instead, I look forward to the day when I have enough savings and passive income from my investments to be able to quit my job, and do whatever I want to do without having to be at work at 9am every day.



What about you? What kind of life are YOU building for yourself?

25 comments:

  1. Hi BudgetBabe,

    I didn't know what I hurriedly typed out this morning resonated with so many people.

    Guess our alternative movement is also gaining traction.

    YOLO. Choose to be happy.

    FOMO. What if I miss out on being happy my whole life?

    The above are the real questions we should be asking ourselves.

    P.S. Is the last photo a picture of you?

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    1. I wish! But no, I can't do a perfect jump split.

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  2. Hey BB,

    Haha, like you, I'm in a job that I love so much that I don't have to escape by going to a vacation every now and then :) Every day, even in my busiest period, feels like a vacation to me. Of course lah, sometimes have to whine and complain a bit, but I think I'm one of the more happy person around with regards to job, and I thought I'm a pessimist!

    I think the truly good thing about my job is that I've no colleagues or people to impress. That removes a lot of peer pressure from following others or from keeping up to trend. Suits my life to a T :)

    Friendly advice: Don't use FI like a permanent escape from work too :) We should all find out how we handle early retirement. To some, it might be the worst nightmare. For others, it might be a godsend. I tried (involuntarily) for about 1.5 yrs and realized my life won't be too different from my current one. Perhaps I'll be working slightly lesser only hahaha

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    1. I love your job too :P I think the best times are whenever we see a remarkable improvement in their understanding and application of knowledge. That is the kind of job satisfaction that truly makes everything worth it.

      I've been thinking about post-FI life as well. I think I'll probably have the courage to go full-time into your job when that happens!

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  4. Agreed with u that YOLO is a concept created by spendthrift ppl to rationalize their spending.
    In terms of psychological ,it is known as backward rationalization. In short ,it is to make excuses to justify the action we have done is correct. I still believe in spending within one's mean

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    1. When I'm out shopping, I hear a lot of people say "aye, just buy, YOLO" and I can't help but shake my head a little whenever I encounter that!

      I like to think of YOLO as we only live (and die) once, so we definitely have to be spending within our means to ensure we have something for the rest of our life, instead of spending excessively now and then living the rest of our lives working hard to pay off the debts / bills.

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  5. Dear Babe,

    The last paragraph caught me as I read it till the end, while YOLO & FOMO are trends that come and go, so is financial independence a trend too, albeit a better one.

    Most look forward to the small vacations, while finance bloggers look forward to the big one, financial independence. In the end, it is still the same, looking forward to something that may not be what you wanted all along. Living a life that needs no vacation is like living a life of semi retirement, work and live life at the same time.

    Hopefully one day you will achieve what the title implies.

    Peace,
    Y

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    1. Hi Y,

      Thanks for commenting! I'm looking forward to financial independence mainly so I can have more courage and ease of mind to pursue my hobbies and the things that I really like. I will definitely still be working in some way or another (one can't take the workaholic out of a person) but life will be less stressful as I'll have the financial freedom to make more choices and free up my life more, rather than be bound to a job that I need to pay the bills. I hope that you'll achieve the same in your life as well!

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  6. how much of a pay cut did you take if you don't mind sharing?

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    1. 30% less pay but 30% less time spent at work as well?

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    2. I think that's a fair comparison, since I no longer have to work on weekday nights and weekends for my day job unlike in the past :)

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  7. "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." - Confucius

    I love what i do and hence it does not feel like i'm suffocating from work. But i still look forward to my trips so i can spend more time with my loved ones. The trick is not to spend > what i allocated.

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    1. Yes, travelling is still great to spend time with our loved ones. The danger comes when these trips become more of a break away from work rather than fulfilling that main purpose!

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    2. Haha... especially when you have the ability to ignore any phone calls and after you get back, you tell them: "sorry, was overseas"... :P

      Whatever we do in life, it is best to remember the main purpose of why we are doing what we are doing and who we are doing it for.

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  8. You're right... In fact vacations sometimes give me more stress! Singapore is actually a beautiful place to explore. I love my work but still find working hours a bit long. Totally don't mind working 50% for 50% less pay, but alas, it's not that simple... (older generation probably gonna chastise me for not wanting to work hard, strawberry generation etc hahaha)

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    1. Hi OWQ! Strawberry generation or not, I think as long as we spend under our means and still have savings to continue, working 50% for half the pay makes sense to me :P

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  9. Don't see what's wrong with eating at hawker centres. There's variety and it's infinitely cheaper. Go for it.

    I find that I used to spend only $5 a day max over lunch, but as I'm working at another locale now, cost of lunch has doubled/tripled. Sheesh. That's an extra $100-200.

    You'll be the envy the day you decide to retire and take it easy.

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    1. I think even if I retire, I will still be working, but the difference would be that I'll be doing the work more out of passion rather than a need to survive and foot the monthly bills :)

      Ouch! CBD lunches used to kill me as it was $12 - $15 on average, but I managed to get around that on days where I weren't so busy by walking (and perspiring) under the hot sun for 15 min to get to a hawker centre nearby, or bring my own meals to office to try and save up.

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  10. Hi BB,

    Good to hear you love what you are doing currently.

    I am maybe quite different from the conventional thinking. I think it is fantastic for you to work in your last job. Going thru the rough, then you will appreciate more!

    Life evolves and at different stages of life, you are exposed and experienced different things. Most important is how we make full use of our past experiences to make the best out of the current!

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    1. I agree. Everything happens in our life for a reason, and I believe my last job was to strengthen me as a person and teach me various lessons I've learnt that will prove invaluable in my future work, regardless of which career move I make :)

      I've been very blessed to be doing the work I'm doing now.

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  11. May I know what you were working as before? Sounds like a paid prison if you ask me.

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