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3 - Steps for Financial Security: Retirement is a series of Choices

Updated: May 28, 2023

First written and shared on Blogger - 9 December 2018.

A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. - Colin Powell

"We can make this dream come alive" – but how do we start? A Budget.


A 25-year- old guy whom I met online recently asked me, “Hey, what are your dreams? What are your retirement plans?”


Before I could even share my plans, he briefly shared with me how he already planned to retire, with his loved one (whom he haven’t met), before turning 35 years old. I, too, had a plan, but his was so much more ambitious.


We concluded from our discussion that “Retirement is a series of choices”. Basically, We plan for it, based on many factors, including what we want/need now and in future; our dreams and goals - where we envision ourselves to be; how our lives could change … And every financial plan needs a sound budget.


Setting up a Budget is making a choice every single day, to spend or to save. That’s it. But setting up a realistic Budget is to first understand yourself and your habits.


And here’s 3 steps:


1. Set aside a monthly saving sum and don’t touch it.


For a start, do set aside 1/10 of your monthly salary. And do not touch it. Leave this amount in a higher interest rate bank account, if possible. Increase this amount every one year by $10. Start now, before the year ends, ‘cause that’s one off your To-Do List.


2. Calculate and record down your monthly spending.


From a lunch set meal, to a cheat-day treat, and a grab ride cause you’re running late or even your monthly handphone bills, note these spending down, daily. Make sure you categorise them.


Fixed expenses – These are your monthly handphone bills, repayment of study loads, parents’ allowance and even housing loans etc. It’s unlikely you can reduce them, so you just gotta deal with them.


Flexible expenses – These are those that could vary from month to month, likely your credit card bills, entertainment and food.


Fun expenses – Definitely a happy treat after a long day at work, or a travel escape / well-deserved holiday.


Tip: Fixed expenses > Fun expenses > Flexible expenses.


3. Share your Budget with your loved one and stick to it, together.


Our Budget fluctuates, depending on where we’re at in our life and what we’re struggling with. But things are always easier when we do something, together. Get someone, to keep you in check. Keep to this Budget, for a minimum of 3 years and re-evaluate them when necessary.


Bonus: Invest a portion of your annual salary.


Review your Budget Monthly. Be flexible but make sure you are staying on track. So, can we make this early retirement dream come true? That is not the question to ask, the question is: Do you choose to make this dream come alive?


Make a commitment – promise me, let this decision make you stronger.


--


P/S: And yes, my dream includes a piece of Taiwan - the really beautiful place <3

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