YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE / 富足人生

YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE (on Dennis Tan and Joe Dominiguez). One of the favourite mantras of some Singaporeans is “Money No Enough (钱不够用).

True, there is a minority of Singaporeans who are barely surviving and do not even have a roof over their heads. For them, money is indeed not enough. And support from the state and others is much needed.

However, many other Singaporeans have an acceptable standard of living. They hold jobs and live in at least an HDB flat. Yet, “money-not- enough” remains a source of unhappiness to them.

From observing the lives of people in my life and learning from experts in financial freedom, I believe part of the answer lies in the need for us to build a healthier relationship with money.

DENNIS TAN KIM SENG is a friend of mine and is one of the happiest and most contented people I know.

Kim Seng worked his way from a Personnel Executive to become an excellent Head of an Enrichment Programme for special-needs youths.

Although he can well afford a much bigger home, he has decided that he is happy with his 4-room flat. His wife is a housewife and together they raised 2 children. One of the children is now a teacher-in-training.

As part of Kim Seng’s daily routine, he either rides a bicycle or he jogs to work.

In all the years I know him, Kim Seng has never complained about “money-not- enough”.

On the contrary, I know of people who enjoy a high standard of living but still feel they do not have enough. I once had a friend who vowed he will not stop earning till he buys one apartment for each of his 4 children. His life is highly stressed and he is constantly unhappy.

Looking at the examples, it appears true that, “the happiest man is not the one who has the most but the one who needs the least.”

Let me share with you some ideas I found useful in transforming our relationship with money.

1. Decide what is ‘Enough’

A very important word is the word, “enough”.

Wealth is a moving target even for some who are wealthy.

John D. Rockefeller, an American oil tycoon who founded Standard Oil, is considered to be the richest men in the world in the 20th century. It was reported that when he was asked, “How much money is enough?” Rockefeller replied, “Just a little bit more!”.

But ‘enough’ need not be linked to one’s income. Depending on each us determine what is ‘enough’, we can choose one of 3 lifestyles:
– To live above one’s means (or income)
– To live according to one’s means
– To live below one’s means

Kim Seng, my friend, has decided on his own definition of ‘enough’ and as a result, selected a lifestyle that allows him to live below his income.

No one can or should tell another what ‘enough’ should be.

I learn, however, that the lower ‘enough’ is, the faster we can reach the point of freedom when we do not have to make life choices based on money.

2. Develop a Mindset of ‘Contentment’

Contentment is not always good especially in instances when it is an excuse for low or unacceptable standards of work or service.
However, when it comes to money and other possessions, there is some merit to being contented.

The Christian Apostle Paul, for instance, shared this enviable mindset when he spoke about how he has learnt to be content in whatever life circumstances he was in.

Paul said he knew how to get along with humble means and also know how to live in prosperity.

Paul’s mindset is based on a set of values that does not equate contentment and happiness to the amount of worldly possessions he has.

He has successfully learnt to adopt the mindset of contentment, whether he has abundance or is suffering.

3. Take Action towards Liberty and Financial Freedom

The dream of liberty and financial freedom remains a dream unless action is taken to translate it to reality.

One guru whom I have learnt much from is Joe Dominguez. Together with Vicki Robin, Joe wrote the boo ,“Your Money or Your Life” which I read many years ago.

The ideas in the book transformed the way I view money and other possessions and gave me the tools to work towards contentment and financial liberty.

Joe was a financial analyst on Wall Street who after carefully managing his lifestyle and money, retired when he was 31. He carried on working and serving others but never again to take money for his labour.

Joe died in 1997 and today, his work and message in helping others achieve financial freedom, still lives on. He is my role model in taking action towards liberty and financial freedom.

Some of the steps Joe recommended involved:

– Observing and tracking one’s current spending habits

– How to set goals of what is ‘enough’

– Planning for one’s early retirement from working for the sake of money

– Deciding the ‘cross-over’ point at which you stop working for money and start working for your dream

Talking about taking action, one of the biggest fears Singaporeans have is not having enough to retire after they stop income-generating work.

However, under the new CPF Life Scheme, if action is taken to constantly top up one’s Minimum CPF Sum, many retirees canl receive a monthly retirement income of about $1,000/- for the rest of their lives.

This is one key action Singaporeans can easily take towards greater financial freedom.

Conclusion

Every one of us deserves to spend our limited life energy on life pursuits of our choice.

We should not have to live in the fear of ‘money-not-enough’.

Don’t wait till it is too late to develop the mindsets and take action to develop a healthy relationship with money!

Denise Phua/文/潘丽萍
萍良心说/隔周二刊登翻译/《我报》翻译组(英文原文可在潘丽萍女士的Facebook以及《我报》的Facebook上阅读)

 

富足人生 :
很多新加坡人爱说的一句口头禅是:钱不够用。
的确,有少数的新加坡人到现在为止,还是很勉强的度日,他们连住的地方都没有。对他们来说,钱真的不够用。他们确实是需要帮助的一群。
不过,大多数新加坡人的生活水平,维持在还可以接受的水平上,除了有一份工作之外,还有一间政府组屋可以栖身,但“钱不够用”仍然是他们不开心的根源。
从我对各阶层人士的观察,以及我向一些财务专家的讨教,我察觉到,人们似乎必须与金钱和物质建立起较健康的关系。

我的朋友陈锦成,是我所认识的人当中,最开心、最知足的人。
锦成以前是一名文员,后来成为特殊青年才艺课程的主管。今时今日的他,绝对有条件住更大的房子,但他始终满足于他的四房式组屋。他的妻子是一名家庭主妇,夫妇俩育有两名孩子。其中一个孩子现在是受训教师。锦成每天必做的一件事就是骑脚车、搭巴士或跑步上班。在我认识他的这么多年里,我从来没有听他抱怨过“钱不够用”。

相反的,我认识很多享受着高水平生活的人,他们却觉得自己拥有的还不足够。我有一个朋友就曾经告诉我,他如果储不够钱为他的4个孩子各买一间公寓,他就会继续工作下去。他的人生过得很有压力,经常申诉他活得不开心。

看看上述两个例子,让人联想到,有句话说得很对:最开心的人,不是拥有最多的人,而是需要最少的人。

改变人与金钱的关系

1 自己为“足够”下一个定义

我觉得“足够”是人生当中,是很重要的一个词汇。
财富是一个移动中的目标,即使是拥有最多财富的人,也认为自己还没有达到“足够”的目标。洛克菲勒(John D. Rockefeller)美国美孚石油公司(标准石油)的创办人,他堪称20世纪世界上最有钱的人之一。
曾经有人问他:“你觉得拥有多少钱才足够?”
洛克菲勒回答说:“再多一点吧!”
“足够”不必一定要和一个人的薪水收入挂钩,我们可以自己给“足够”下定义,然后按照自己的定义,从以下3种生活方式当中,选择一种:
●超越自己负担能力(或超越收入)的生活。
●按照自己的负担能力,量力而“活”。
●有能力生活得好一点,却选择更简单的生活。
以我的朋友锦成的情况来说,他虽然有能力,却选择过简单的生活,他对“足够”显然有他自己的定义。

没有人可以告诉我们,多少才“足够”,但我发现,把“足够”的目标定得较低,人生越快可以达到“财务自由”的境界,在做任何选择时,无需再以金钱为基础和考量。

2 要有一颗知足的心

知足,有时候是表现不好时,给自己找来的借口。
但是,当涉及金钱与财产时,知足却绝对是一个优点。
例如:基督宗徒保罗分享了令人羡慕的一种心态。他说,无论在卑微或繁华的环境下,他都可以生活,也学会了知足。保罗知足的心,有一套价值观为根基,那就是:不把快乐满足与金钱物质挂钩。无论在富庶或缺乏的环境里,他都采取知足的心态。

3 晋升“财务自由”的境界

华尔街投资理财专家乔•杜明戈斯(Joe Dominguez)在他工作的10年中,对金钱与自己的生活方式都经营得很好,在他31岁那年,存够了钱维持下半生后,他便辞去了华尔街的工作。从那时起, 虽然他继续工作,当义工,但他已不再接受薪水。他与薇琪•鲁宾(Vicki Robin)合著了一本书,叫《富足人生》(Your Money or Your Life)。

我在多年前阅读了这本书。书中提出的一些看法,让我重新审视了自己与金钱物质的关系,也给了我勇气走向“知足常乐,财务自由”的境界。

如何实现“财务自由”?乔•杜明戈斯在书中提出的步骤包括:
●留意自己每月的消费习惯。
●为自己设定目标,对自己而言,什么是“足够”?
●为自己制定一个提早退休的计划。这里所说的“退休”,不是指完全不工作,是指不必为了金钱工作。
●为自己做一个决定,从什么时候开始,你不再为了金钱工作,而是为自己的理想工作。

新加坡人最大的担忧就是在停止工作、没有收入后,没有足够的钱退休。按照新的2013年公积金终身入息计划(CPF Life),只要国人继续填补公积金最低存款,很多人在退休后,每个月可以领取1000元左右的退休收入。要达到“财务自由”的境界,我们必须有所行动,否则,它永远都只是一个梦想。

与金钱建立健康的关系…

每个人都有权力利用自己有限的生命,去追求自己想要做的事。
我们不应该生活在“钱不够用”的担忧与恐惧之中。

赶快付诸行动,与金钱建立起健康的关系吧!

  Denise Phua Lay Peng

 

 

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