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Returning trays in food courts and having financial security.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I spent quite a bit of time penning a long email to a few friends recently and I would like to share a few paragraphs here because it is something I feel strongly about:

"As for the belief that many people think that they might not live long enough to see the first payment from the CPF Life, it is a pertinent concern. Personally, I also do not think that I will live very long because I am not very healthy. 

"Then, why do I bother planning for retirement? Why do I bother doing the kind of things that I do? It is all about taking responsibility for our own financial futures. It is about being socially responsible and not be a burden to society. I blogged about this before too.

"Unfortunately, it is not so easy to get everyone to think like this. 

"Just look at the campaign to get people to clear their own trays in the food courts and fast food outlets. How many people actually bother to do that? I was in McDonald's recently and I saw 12 JC kids who left their tables in a mess after eating there. These kids are our future. Socially responsible, anyone? I like to think that the next generation will be better at this and I still hope it will be so. 

"Again, education is important.

"I don't know if the government has tried this angle before but planning for a financially secure retirement is a socially responsible thing to do. Don't expect society to pay for our retirement unless we are severely disadvantaged. Is this worth mentioning? I think so."

I don't know about other people but in my extended family, there are people who are not financially prudent and think that it is only right that others in the family should help them if they run into financial difficulties. Why? Blood is thicker than water.

Yah, wait till the blood clots and we get a stroke or deep vein thrombosis.

Be educated financially.

Be socially responsible by planning well for retirement.

As a nation, I believe, we have some distance to go in these areas and those who know more should help those who know less so that they can help themselves. The government must do more in this respect and I believe that they can and will do more.

Related posts:

1. The very first step to becoming richer.

"The last thing we want to be is to be a burden to people we love or, indeed, to society as a whole. Well, I could be generalising too much but common decency would require that we think this way. Taking affirmative action to plan for self-sufficiency, avoiding dependency, is not only financially prudent, it is the responsible thing to do."

2. We are not perfect but we can improve our lives.
(A letter from a reader.)

"On the part of feeling very pessimistic, I can understand that... when they start thinking about retirement or old age it can look very bleak for our current generation. The government may look rich but they have other issues to think about as well. The countries around the world may not be as friendly as they seem to be.
"But through proper planning and use of excess funds, however little, or to restructure the way their resources are being used or allocated, I believe people can improve their lives. The problem is, I feel, nobody told them how to do it. So, since no ideas were planted, nothing can grow."


Unknown said...

Hi AK,
You always have a penchant for writing such simple answers to "silly questions" like "not being able to live to spend my CPF".
When I was young, My mum will always pass me used text books from my elder brother and such textbooks were from my cousins. The thing I learnt was thrift and not waste resources.
Today, if you take the public transport. You will easily spot many children owning at least 1 branded good. I am not saying that this is a bad thing. It is just times have changed. Many more Singaporeans are wealthier and willing to spurge. If these parents are like this, how do you expect the next generation to be?
As usual, I agree with your point "Be educated financially. Be socially responsible by planning well for retirement".
I believe such financial education begins at home, if parents does not exhibit such behavior, you cannot expect their children to have the right behavior.
Frankly, if everyone is like you. The retail businesses, banks, etc will have very little ways to earn your money. So sometimes, for the good of our economy. It is useful to have people who are not financially educated but they also will not affect the rest of Singaporeans with their own problems. Then, Singapore will be a more peaceful place to live in. Alas, that is not possible.

Cory said...

I think if retail banks have no business to have because society as a whole is more financially literate is a good problem to have. Why tax the society to feed well paid bankers ? This smart people can try be the next Bill Gate which will tenfold the economy probably.

From the noise level of min. sum, the level of social responsibility, we will still need Bankers. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Julian,

It could be a simple answer to some of us but to others, it might not be. In fact, they could write it off as rubbish. It depends on what are our values in life.

So, you are right about how financial education should start at home. The kind of values we have are likely to have been passed down by our parents.

There will always be those less fortunate and that is where a national education program will prove most helpful. To those who might not need the education, they should take comfort in the fact that their fellow countrymen are benefitting from it.

I certainly do not wish for everyone to be like me. According to some friends, I am a most boring person. -.-"

I prefer the adjective you used, peaceful. I am a peaceful person. ;p

AK71 said...

Hi Cory,

I am sure that there are some bankers reading my blog. I will let them respond to your comment. ;p

For the record, I am all for a more financially literate population in Singapore. :)

Unknown said...

Hi AK and Cory,
I like banks, they have a purpose to exist and they are definitely good for the economy.
I just don't understand why some bankers (a lot of ppl working in banks think they are bankers but not all of these ppl are highly paid bankers) are being so highly paid and they deem it as their birth-right to be paid so highly. Note that I am not against banks nor bankers. They provide a service and deserve to be paid for their work.
Maybe I just don't understand the complexity and value-add they bring to deserve such high pay.
I hope that these highly paid bankers reading can give some insights of why some bankers highly paid? Or maybe not, why reveal their trade secrets?

Unknown said...

I think the lack of financial literacy among families is perhaps due to the faulty belief that talking about money can be pretty uncomfortable. And yet it is most important that parents should take the lead to educate their off springs at an early stage. The only problem is, in some cases the parents are by themselves, financially illiterate.

Lizardo said...

About the return tray thing, I think a bit of in depth cultural immersion helps a great deal.

Live in Japan or US for a while, and maybe there is more chance for the practice to take root.

AK71 said...

Hi Avillion,

The reasons you have given are strong incentives for us to have a national education program in matters financial. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Lizardo,

Hahaha... Yes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. ;)

However, it would be impossible to send every kid here for an immersion program. Imagine the cost. I don't think this is pragmatic. -.-"

AK71 said...

Hi Julian,

I like banks when they help me to make money. I don't like banks when they tank money from me. Aiyoh, I am the have the cake and want to eat it type of person. -.-"

pf said...

Hi all...maybe this quote could shed light on the qns we hv here.

It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning. - Henry Ford.

People pay for what they do not know. :)

About returning of trays. ..personally i dont like it. Not becoz i am lazy...becoz some people really need that job.

When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. - Deuteronomy 24:21

AK71 said...

Hi pf,

I think that argument about people needing the job is an excuse in general. I personally know quite a few people who give me that excuse when they don't return their trays. I feel that they just want people to clean up after them.

Actually, it is really hard to find people to take on these jobs in Singapore. This is probably why I see Chinamen and Banglas assuming the role in so many food centres.

Anyway, it is all about becoming more civic minded and I believe our society will evolve.

The other day, I was out having breakfast with a friend. I went away to buy my food while my friend waited at our table. When I returned, there was a whole tray of used bowls and chopsticks on the table.

My friend said the aunty at the other table brought them over. When he tried to stop her, she said the cleaners will clear later. Duh! I was aghast. Such a monstrosity of a woman and she was definitely Singaporean. Sigh.

pf said...

Haha...the thing abt returning the trays might take some time. I didn't even know abt this until my friends told me.

AK71 said...

Hi pf,

I am sure it will take some time. It is not something that people are used to doing here, after all.

A change in personal habit is difficult. A change in social habit is probably tougher.

However, if we want change, then, we need to educate and people will have to make an effort. My guess is that it will take an entire generation before we see results.

Actually, after seeing that table of mess left behind by the 12 JC kids, maybe it is going to take 2 generations. -.-"

Unknown said...

I was talking a colleague the other day while boarding the mrt. it seems that in the city stops, ppl are more willing to q up in line to board the trains. Although, not all will q up orderly. it is still worth commending their efforts.
Is such habit to q up also due to education? Then why do I still see some well dressed (seemingly educated) ppl not following the q?

I would prefer to have SMRT officers, slapping summons on ppl who dun q up. I feel that is the fastest way to get ppl's attention. Finally, everyone is happy while boarding the mrt becos no one can cut q.

But I understand that times are different now, ppl feel that education & "LOVE" is the way forward on most matters. Even if it is going to be a long, slow and tiring process.

AK71 said...

Hi Julian,

Well, there are many types of education. In China, when the Maoists sent people to camps to receive free education, was it a good thing? ;p

A person might have multiple degrees but lack social graces. Possible?

A person might dress very well but might not be well educated in more ways than one. Possible?

Education is needed but it has to be the right sort and it has to be wide reaching. That is my view. :)

Slapping people with fines will work. Personally, I believe that when we spare the cane, we spoil the child. LOL. I love our fine city! ;p

pf said...

I believe the education system should include financial education.

Shortly after, we shld move away from govt control to let the ppl experience their own financial mistakes. Let experience be the best educator and the rod that automatically whack the child.

AK71 said...

Hi pf,

I rather have a good parent to take care of me for life. I am terrible. I know. Bad AK! Bad AK! ;p

If I can have a guaranteed 4% to 5% return on my retirement savings, I will gladly take it. Unfortunately, all good things will come to an end. So, I am under no illusion that it will last forever.

When would it end? Likely when the 1% + 10 years SGS coupon is higher than the 4% being paid on our savings (above the first $40K) in the SA now. Higher returns, yes, but it won't be guaranteed anymore.

Unknown said...

Hi pf,
Your quote on Deuteronomy 24:21 may not resonate with most who understand the context of where the verse comes from. It is asking people not to be too greedy in harvesting and to leave some for the poor. No way is it refering to leaving our responsibility to clear our dishes to other people. Sorry if my words offend you.

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