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Is it wrong to be idealistic and live the good life?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

If we should be able to do something we love and be paid well for it, we are very lucky indeed.

Now, if we should be given two choices of 

1. a job that pays us well but we do not enjoy 


2. a job that doesn't pay well but we enjoy, 

which one should we choose?

Which option we choose might depend on whether we are a pragmatist or an idealist.

However, I also believe that which one we choose will depend on how comfortable (or uncomfortable) we are financially.

My breakfast. Cute?

I know young people who are very idealistic and many can afford to be so because they already have a roof over their heads, they get a generous amount of pocket money from their parents and the labour market is generally quite tight. 

So, they can afford to be picky.

Is there anything wrong with this? 

Well, as long as they and their parents are able to sustain that kind of an arrangement almost indefinitely, I don't think so. 

There are families which have enough old money to last them a few generations, for example. 

Lucky people.

However, if we are talking about a regular middle class family, then, I think that such an arrangement could be a problem. 

It could be a problem also because it could become a problem for society at large.

"We can afford this lifestyle. What is your problem, AK?"

Yes, for how long? 

Have they ever asked that question?

"We have a plan. Don't be so nosey, AK!"

Oh, ok, that is good. 

I am so sorry for being a big kay poh.

Bad AK! Bad AK!

(I hope the plan does not include a "RETURN OUR CPF" protest in Hong Lim Park.)

Related posts:
1. Why a wealthy nation cannot afford to retire?
2. Two questions that help us build wealth.
3. Are you a millennial? (30 years old or younger.)
"Millennials' general attitude towards work is a result of having doting parents, structured lives and a high level of connection with others through information technology."


Singapore Man of Leisure said...


Remember this program of our childhood?

Sing along now:

M.I.C.K.E.Y M.O.U.S.E!

AK71 said...


Wah! So fast! You found the hidden Mickey in my blog! You are good! LOL. ;p

Mao Mao said...

Hi AK,

Some times I envy those young adults (mid 20s, early 30s) who have shophouse / coffeeshop properties passed down from inheritance. They lead a care-free stress-free happy life while collecting rents on a monthly basis. They can also close 2 eyes and make a large lump sum voluntary contribution into CPF account too.

Of course it is great to find a job that you really enjoy working and getting paid at the same time. BUT as an employee, you are still answerable to superiors/bosses, assignment deadlines, adhere to a certain amount of working hours, the list goes on.

AK71 said...

Hi MaoMao,

I would envy them too. It is only normal. :)

However, I tell myself that these people are the exceptions and not the norm.

I just have to work harder than them and make my own money. Of course, it definitely helps if I enjoy what I do for a living. :)

I know what you are saying about being an employee. Well, we just have to make the best of our situation.

MSAPersonalFinance said...

Hi AK71,

For those normal folk, probably can only start with higher pay job even though they have no passion in it. This group of people can only move to do things that they like when they are financially free. After all, not everyone is born with silver spoon.

AK71 said...


I can tell that you are a pragmatist. So am I. :)

EW said...

Hi AK,

I worked in the IT line and I used to be very passionate about my job during the first 10 years of my career. After that, age started to catch up and my priority and focus also changes.

I still enjoy my work, but i don't seem to enjoy it as much as i used to be. I seem to enjoy reading your blogs that my work related blogs ;-P.

I am 41 and seriously working towards retiring in the next 5 years. I have been with my current company for 15 years and i think i would likely end my career in this company..making the years of service to 20 :).

Boss is good, colleagues nice, pays well, what else can i ask for ?

AK71 said...

Hi EW,

I have spent almost 20 years of my life working, focusing more on the money than on what I love doing.

Becoming an accidental blogger helped me discover something I love doing but doesn't pay well at all. LOL.

Some told me that I have moved up the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Self-actualisation stage. Maybe so. It could also be the case for you. ;)

Siew Mun said...

For my children, I am begining to learn instead of communicating "I love you, so let me make life easy for you," I decided that my message needed to be something more along these lines: "I love you. I believe in you. I know what you're capable of. So I'm going to make you work.

This to teach my children not to have a sense of entitlement, which would be dertimental to their wellbeing and contribution to society.

AK71 said...

Hi Siew Mun,

You have once again impressed me with your wisdom. :)

You have brought "Financial Freedom is a family affair" to a new level. :)

Yes, our children should take ownership of their financial well-being. They have to learn the ropes.

Just like how wolf cubs must learn to hunt for themselves in time to come, we cannot be coddling our children all the time. :)

Jes said...

Hi Ak,

I think happiness is the key here. If one is unhappy, no matter how high pay the job offers, ultimately I don't think can stay for long. Similarly, if you are happy with your work and bosses and colleagues, but your peanut's pay made after-work life miserable, it's not gonna work. That's why job hopping is the norm nowadays. I do admit that pay is a big contributor to happiness =P

P.S: I have renamed my blog to SimplyJesMe instead of Travel.Invest.Cook.

AK71 said...

Hi Jes,

"The law of diminishing marginal utility implies that poorer people will gain more utility from money for additional spending than the wealthy. According to this economic law, as a person gets more to spend, he will buy things that give him less and less utility."

We might be able to infer from this law that if we had a simple lifestyle and we maintained that simple lifestyle, would getting a higher pay at work make us happier? It would depend on how important money is to us by then, perhaps.

I have updated your blog title in my list. Thanks for letting me know. :)

pf said...

AK71...well said in diminishing marginal utility. :)

AK71 said...

Hi pf,

I really feel the law working on me in the last few years. Even as I made more money, my lifestyle has remained more or less unchanged. Since I do not crave any upgrades in life, having more money doesn't really make me happier.

For people who are contented with what they already have, this law is felt more keenly.

Siew Mun said...

For me, I am getting more kiam when I have more. I don't feel I need to go buy something to fulfil my wants. Not sure what's the hypothesis here?

AK71 said...

Hi Siew Mun,

If we are contented with what we already have, even if we make more money, we won't go and buy something frivolous.

As our income increase, if we do not upgrade our lifestyle, there is less fear of not having enough in our old age. :)

Mao Mao said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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