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Tea with FunShine: Less is more - Prudent Living.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

This is a guest blog contributed by a reader who goes by the name of FunShine.

A bit about the writer - FunShine
The writer hopes that his personal account will be a good read for people hoping to take small steps towards different degree of financial freedom.
FunShine has been working in the Community and Social Service Sector for over 10 years. It has always been an interesting sector to work in.
He has decided to take a 6 months break and live prudently, surviving on his dividends and interests for his personal expenses.
FunShine does not want to compete with the Joneses and is contented with his lifestyle.


My dividends and interest earned for the month of Dec was $338.37. Ever since the start of my break, I have been trying hard to just live on my dividends and interest for my personal expenses.
Due to this challenge to myself, I have learn and did a few things very differently in Singapore as compared to when I was employed.

1. Meeting with Friends Friends that choose to meet up are given a few choices. 
A. We meet in hawker or coffeeshop.
B. They treat me if we want to eat in restaurant.
C. I have meals at Home first then just have soup at the restaurant of my friend's choice.
Most friends are understanding since I am not employed. For those not so understanding, you just do not meet them. Thankful that during this season, I have been blessed by good friends.

2. Transport Transport actually is the main bulk of my cost which is hard to cut.
A. Meet friends for early breakfast, so that I can have the free transport before 7.45am.
B. If it's only a few bus stops or 1-2 mrt stations, walking is a cheaper alternatively.
C. Farrer Park Mrt to Lavender Mrt is actually not that far and you save a bit if you walk.
D. Punggol to Bishan by walking is viable if you have the time. Gd exercise.

3. Giving/Contributions I struggle with this part the most initially.
A. Contribution Contribution to joint account, parents and grandma must still be there. It's my decision to take a break but that does not excuse myself from my responsibilities as a son, eldest grandson and husband. Contribution from this category will eat into my savings. Thankful that I have enough for this break.
B. Giving to Church You still give just that the amount is reduced as God loves a cheerful giver. Besides, the air-con that I enjoyed in church, someone still needs to pay for it.
C. Donations Donations still carry on if necessary. As I want my tax deduction and giving somehow will make you feel good. Even better when you know the dollar and cents mean a lot more to you now then previously.
D. CPF contribution It's a bit painful to see that there is no money coming in to your OA account. As I have this habit of just keeping 20k in OA and any extra will be transferred to my SA account. Thankful that with the money left in my OA, making payment for my 4 room flat is a non-issue.
E. SRS contribution Contributed to my SRS for long term financial planning in Dec 15. Was bo Liao enough to contribute the amount such that my income tax next year is only $88. Last year income tax was $130+. The amounts are for the whole year not monthly.

4. Lifestyles Changes
A. Plain Water Bringing a bottle out used to be a big hassle. It's so much easier to just grab a drink from the fridge, be it in the Super Market or 7-11. With the challenge, I have to bring my own water. Healthier lifestyle not by choice but by the income I am depending on.
B. Long Walks I love long walks ever since my near fatal bicycle accident in 2008. Also, long walks are free and the scenery in our parks are most lovely.
C. Taxi You have the time. You dun feel rush. Why the need for taxi?
D. Restaurants All restaurants visit in SG is cut to almost zero. We only spurge on this when we are overseas as it is so much cheaper.

What's next for me?
I really dun have a very detailed concrete plan. But for friends that know me, I always have a overarching plan to follow.
Right now, is just to enjoy this 6 months break from Nov 15 - Apr 16.

As for my financials goals, since I have achieved personal expenses freedom which is a small step in the right direction, it's time to think about other goals.

It should be as follow:
1. Enough recurring dividend for the amount I give to my grandma
2. Debt free, pay off my 4 room HDB in full
3. Enough recurring dividend for the amount I give to my parents
4. Enough recurring dividend for the amount I contribute to my family account
5. Legacy Fund
Once there is no purpose for item 1 and item 3, the assets will go into this fund (item 5). This fund will aid in my giving, be it to charities or missionaries.
That's all for now.
Thank you for reading.

For sure, keeping our needs simple and wants few will improve our financial well-being.

Good job, FunShine!
Related posts:
"Every man is rich or poor according to the proportion between his desires and his enjoyments."(Samuel Johnson)


eruption said...

Hi AK, a much silent reader here.

FunShine's guest post seems to have reflected much of my concerns as I'm planning to take a break from my work for 1 year. In fact, a much longer term plan will be for a career switch to the non-profit sector or the social services sector.

FunShine's sharing is indeed inspiring :)

While I'm still exploring my plans now, in fact I withdrew my resignation 2 months ago due to some changes in my life, I'm still bent on this plan of mine. Enough of the usual career & hectic work life. I just need to work out some sums for the housing needs with my significant other.
Yes, the change in my life is that I have found my significant other and we are working together having our own housing :)

Yaruzi said...

Nice sharing ... Like it

Happydoggy said...

Hi AK,

If transport is the bulk of his expense, would he want to consider taking up the monthly concession pass?

For the all day monthly concession pass, it costs a fixed rate of $120 per month where this Travel Pass allows for unlimited travel on the bus services and MRT / LRT services within that one month. Also, if he only travels during the off peak season, there is a offpeak concession pass which cost only $80 per month.

Since im working, I am currently using the all day concession pass and i find that this really cut down my bulk of the transportation cost. I used to spend a lot on transport especially on weekends.

If he is not working, mayb he can consider the off-peak concession pass which will cap his transport at only $80 per month. But of cos, that would mean he can only travel during off-peak hours using that concession pass. :)

Happy doggy

Ph1l1p said...

how SG's stock market?

AK71 said...

Hi eruption,

Hope that this will be the first of many comments from you. ;)

We have different circumstances, definitely, and circumstances do change over time. So, the ability to stay flexible and not be fixated is important.

The ideal situation is when we work because we want to and not because we have to. However, this is a situation that will take time to create and how we achieve this could also differ.

I look forward to future updates. ;)

AK71 said...

Hi HD,

This is good information for him and also for me. Haha...

Thanks for sharing this. :)

Sillyinvestor said...

Get a cheap bicycle. Cover back transport cost in a month. Faster, time might not be money for him now, but get around faster, more time for indugulences

Those were the days... Cycling to school... No transport costs

AK71 said...

Hi Mike,

Haha.. In Singapore's weather? Hmmm... Not for everyone lah and, definitely, not for every occasion. ;p

AK71 said...

From my FB wall:

Jimmy Ng says:

Yes. Funshine plan is achievable and logical. If I may add a few suggestion from my own experience.

#1. Meeting friends
*D : Avoid or reduce that "having a drink at the pubs".

Alcohol, especially in town area, regardless of happy hour or not, can stack up the expense. Even coffeeshop beer cost like $6 a big bottle. You know, $6 can pay for 2 packs of 1meat+2veg 菜饭

#2. Transport.

*E : Bicycle. One time expense and cost very little to maintain. Use it to cycle around the neighbourhood for fitness (there are lots of PCN links), run errands and even as a wheels for bringing back those heavy stuff (Dynamo etc) from Seng Siong (5% rebate via Everyday card, no min spend). Good way to meet new friends too.

*F: Transit Link card's Distance Fare option.

When I have a few errands in town. I will try to maximize this option by careful planning and saving loads for transportation. Imagine, Tampines to Tg Pagar to Orchard to Brash Basah to Bedok to Tampines for less than $2.00 TOTAL.

Sounds like a bit of a rush that I have to board the 5th (final) transport before the 45mins interval / 2 hrs rule. The savings, another 菜饭 meal added to my budget.

AK71 said...

From my FB wall:

Raymond Ng says:

6 principle of LIFE... (agree to disagree).

1. No Point using limited life to chase unlimited money

2. No point earning so much money yet you cannot live to spend it

3. Money is not yours until you spend it

4. When you are young, you use your helath to chase your wealth; when you are old, you use your wealth to buy back your health. Different is that, it is too late

5. How happy a man is, is not how much he has but how little he needs

6. No point working so hard to provide for the people you have no time to spend with

eruption said...

Hi AK,

That's one of the wonders of life for me, I suppose.
I decide what I want for my life and move towards it. It can be slow, painful at times. At the end of the day, only I can know whether it is worth it, for me and for others.

Having said that, I know life revolves around others too, especially the loved ones around me. And that's why I still had not made the bold daring unknown move I had always been dreaming. Maybe I have been thinking too much :)

AK71 said...

Hi eruption,

Oh, I assure you that very few I know worry as much as I do. -.-"

I have an inkling that you are moving in the right direction. Don't worry too much. ;p

FunShine said...

Hi All,

Sorry for the late replies. Been too busy meeting up with friends :)

Think I will just reply to one person first and reply the rest later in the week when I can.

Eruption, I am glad that you are thinking about making the switch. We need a lot of good people in the social service sector.

You can consider volunteering in a voluntary welfare organization of your choice before you decide the switch.

Work in social service can be summed up in a negative tone as low salary, long hours and emotionally demanding. However, if you have the passion, it is a very rewarding career. Rewarding not in the sense of monetary but you will have a lot of personal growth that other industry may be unable to provide. However, when passion runs out then it boils down to patient and why did you choose this path less travelled to begin with.

I still remember coming back from my studies in Melbourne. My friends was drawing a salary of 6-10k as a RM. I was drawing a take home pay of only 1.6k. My hours were longer than his and I was working 25 out of 52 weekends as I was running events and classes for the underprivileged. All of my friends were wondering what's wrong with me as with my degree, I could have gone working in some banks. However, I have never look back. It is a rewarding career, you are happy that you have help your clients solve issues or offer support to people in the area of need.

I am taking this break to accompany my wife for her overseas work engagement. When I am there, I hope to volunteer in a dementia setting to hopefully learn something new. I hope the seniors do not bite me too hard or take shit and throw at my face.

Best wishes to you. Happy that you found someone :)


Mr Funshine said...

Dear All,

Funshine here. Sorry for the late reply. I will reply to all comments when I can.

Tried to use my Handphone to reply but somehow it did not work.

Since I am not working, the only time I used the laptop is when I go to my parents place.

Will reply to one reader today and try my best to reply to the rest when I can.

Hi Eruption,

I am different from you.

When I got back from my studies in Melbourne, I choose to work in Social Service and give the best years of my life to this sector. Without knowing, I have given more than 10 years.

If you are expecting things to be nice and rosy and everyone is super duper nice like care bears in Social Service, then I have to disappoint you. It is an interesting sector. Whatever politicking you see in your work you will see them too in this sector. Why? Because we are all humans.

If you are interested, go type in "Sunray NCSS" that will give you a good starting point if you are serious about coming here.

I normally discourage people from coming into the social service sector unless they have a calling or they are very sure. You get lesser pay, more heart ache and head ache and longer working hours. There will be time when you will doubt yourself why you are here.

My first pay was 2k where as my good friends were all earning 6-10k. Some used to look down on me but I was contended. Right now, some are envious of me as they are shocked that I have enough to take a 6 months break and still have plenty of left over. In fact, I have enough to just take a 2 years break if I want to.

I am at a cross road myself too. As I do not know whether to join the financial sector or back to social service sector. All that I know is that in feb and mar, I will be in Canada. Hopefully I get to volunteer in a dementia centre and that the seniors there dun throw too much shit or bite me too much. Because of my drive and passion, I was propelled to Senior Management for a VWO 5 years ago.

Although I am no where near what my friends are earning, I am still happy. I am taking this break to go back and serve the ground and move away from my ivory tower. My office use to be size of my current living room.

Less is more. A lot of things in life is really not that important.

Funshine :)

pansy t said...

Does FunShine have a blog sharing his thoughts and travels?

millionfaith said...

@Sunshine, glad to know you appreciate the simple yet fulfilled living as it is difficult to give up a stable income in exchange for the time to do things that you love. I too, semi retired pretty early, in 2005, at age 38 because I figured that it was no longer worthy for me to burn my healthy life for more money. Looking back, I did not regret my decision, in the last 10 years, I achieved some bucket lists, and most of these things, can only be done when I am still in good health and of course, energy. I hope at the end of my life, I have little to regret. I do wonder why government push the retirement age to 68. What can you do when you have a lot of money but you cannot even enjoy your overseas trips anymore.

FunShine said...

Hi All,

Thanks for your reply. I got back from North America just two weeks ago. Have been very blessed.

Was able to visit Google, Facebook and Apple HQ as my friends work there. Was there to accompany my wife for her work trip, so was in Canada for 2 months. I managed to eat an apple in Apple ☺️

I gave up my job for her and took a 6 months break.

Right now I am still living prudently. Breakfast was 2 eggs from home.

I am going to do a few start ups, take financial advising and maybe even uber driver. A bit burnt out from senior management position.

Come to terms with that I do not need a lot of money.
Last month dividends was $2600 due to Saizen, sigh.... Feb dividend was 460, both more than enough to cover my personal expenses.

Talking out 30k of my savings to do a few start ups for fun. Think a few will fail, some may earn, will see how it goes.

I maybe starting my own blog on 1 May or later. Not sure yet.

Taking it slow. I am enjoying the aircon in a poly now. I used to work here 6 years ago.

Going to drink kopi soon. Will be moving around NYP, TP and RP. If anyone want to catch up for 15mins, let me know. I can take a coffee break from my studies. I used to study in NP but it is too far from my house in Punggol.

Take care,

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