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My family almost went bankrupt.

Monday, August 7, 2017

As my blog grows in readership, there are many more questions which are repeated. There is some level of predictability when it comes to questions from readers, I see.

This is why I find it useful to share some older blogs regularly on my Facebook wall. It is mainly for the benefit of my new readers and also readers who are more forgetful.

A question which I get asked before and which has picked up in frequency in recent months is why am I the way I am? 

This is a question I have addressed on a piece meal basis and to make it easier for me in future, I am blogging a reply in the comments section so that I have something which I can find easily to point to readers.

Read only if you are interested in my psyche:

I have some deep seated insecurities which I can never be rid of. I have provided glimpses of these in my blog before. They are, of course, very piecemeal in nature and scattered. 

I cannot remember where they are in my blog exactly. I do remember that I shared in the comments section but I have never really blogged about these insecurities in their entirety. 

I try not to relive those years.

So, I will be brief. 

My family almost went bankrupt when I was entering my teens and our financial hardship lasted many years. Those years left a mark on me. 

I hinted about the financial hardship my family went through in a few blog posts before and one which I can remember is:

The secret to avoiding financial ruin.

My family learned first hand that banks are fair weather friends and I developed a strong aversion to debt. I try to avoid borrowing money for anything.

Sleeping in the living room of a HDB flat for some years as a teenager was a humbling experience. It was awkward too.

I learned early on in life how finances could go wrong so badly and so quickly and how not having enough money was a terrible thing, how being indebted was much worse. 

Living with the constant threat of losing whatever we had left was very stressful but my parents tried to give us as normal a life as they could.

Those years of financial hardship left me with scars and I believe that anyone who had similar experience will always have shadows haunting them.

"Do I have enough money? Maybe, it is not enough. What about my parents? Do I have enough to take care of them? What about my younger siblings?"

So, I tend to overcompensate. 

I tend to save as much money as possible. I put away much more in my emergency fund than what some people think is necessary. 

I do this although, financially, we became more comfortable as I graduated from university and started working. 

I craved greater financial security. 

The CPF-SA was a natural candidate and I blogged about how I transferred funds from my OA to my SA in the first few years of my working life and that was almost 20 years ago.

There are many clues littered throughout the blog about the way I think and why. 

Of course, I don't expect anyone to piece all the clues together to understand AK the giam siap fellow. 

I vowed not to grow old and destitute.

The End.

Another peek into my past:
With some difficulty, AK says good bye. 
Thank you, mom.


AK71 said...

I was getting super worried as I see myself single and worry not having enough money for retirement.

Max out the benefits of your CPF membership first. :)

Laurence said...

Quote: "As my blog grows in readership, there are many more questions which are repeated. There is some level of predictability when it comes to questions from readers, I see."

Maybe, it's time for ASSI blog to install a Robo Advisory software that automatically answers queries without AK having to reply personally. Lol.

Quote: "A question which I get asked before and which has picked up in frequency in recent months is why am I the way I am?"

I've been asked the same many times as well. Most, if not all of our individual philosophy, ideals, beliefs, principles, conduct, behaviour, etc are defense mechanisms resulting from the hurt, suffering and negative incidents that we went through in life; esp in family life. It's how we continue to survive and grow despite those adversities. Only we ourselves know best why we are the way we are. It's a complex tapestry of who we are, so trying to explaining it to others, especially strangers is futile and doesn't serve anything nor change anything.

AK71 said...

Hi Laurence,

Apart from satisfying the curiosity of some readers, I hope sharing my story will also be beneficial in other ways. :)

AK71 said...

Hey AK, thanks for deep sharing into your painful past. Actually your past drove you to become who you are today. If not for your past, you may even be contented with living paycheck to paycheck. Thankfully u went through such a painful past for it moulded, prepared and drove you to become the successful you today!

Now that I've a toddler, I'm constantly thinking of how I should purposely make his life slightly harder so that he's more driven, complain less and contribute greatly to the society. However my husband is trying to do the opposite, making my toddler's life as easy as possible ๐Ÿ˜ฐ

Selfless sharing by people like u have made it possible for ordinary people like me to financially retire earlier. Thanks AK, pls keep sharing ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

coconut said...

hello AK!

i'll be surprise if you don't have any hardship story to tell. i share exactly what you said, being insecurity that keep me in check all the time.

my motto is tomorrow might never comes haha...

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

Hey, long time no see (you comment). ;p

How have you been? :)

We are suffering from some form of mental illness, I am sure. Some illnesses take a long time to recover from and some stay with us forever. :(

coconut said...

ya, some friends even says that i'm a bit psycopath haha!

is not that i'm really worry bad things might happen, everything can happen especialy in financial world that can destroy me and i'm really getting myself to be prepared mentally. i guess the real fear of going back the same old road to ruin, have prevent me from doing anything stupid haha.

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

I agree with you that anything could happen. Usually, we are hit by things which are totally unexpected because if it is something we expect might happen, we can prepare for it. It is the unexpected things that might kill us. -.-"

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


The owner of the former blue and yellow company I worked for got the same mental disease like you - he's one of the top 10 richest people in the world, and he's still terrified of being penniless. Now that's motivation for you! (And yes, he's dirt poor in his childhood)

As for coconut, I affectionately poked he has no screws in his head ;)

While I'm not "mental" like you both, I'm born flawed from the get go. (Lucky mom never sent me back for a refund!)

Its great for NS as I'm slotted into Pes C. But as a man, I wouldn't go round chest-thumping that I'm sick-chicken... LOL!

I have a theory. Whether mental or flawed, it seems we have an edge over those who are "pristine".

We have found our reason for getting up in the morning ;)

AK71 said...


Blue and yellow? Oh, I know! The McDonald's minions ice cream cone! Unlike your former boss, I do not have any great ambition in life and will never have anything remotely resembling the blue and yellow company you mentioned, er, unless you count the minions ice cream cone. ;p

Laurence said...

Quote: "The owner of the former blue and yellow company I worked for got the same mental disease like you - he's one of the top 10 richest people in the world, and he's still terrified of being penniless. Now that's motivation for you! (And yes, he's dirt poor in his childhood)"

Went to read up on the man in question. Not surprised with what I found. It has been consistently shown that multi-billionaires from the last century who started out as penny-saving paupers tend to be very private, shun limelight/fame, continue to save pennies and spend only on bare necessities. The only thing they continue to spend huge amounts of money on are expanding their business empires.

Brina said...

Hi AK, thanks for your very honest and open sharing. It's not an easy thing to do to open up so much (Internet or otherwise!)
Our experiences make us who we are, and I think whatever adversity that doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
Keep doing what you do, stay happy, and thanks for letting us readers eavesdrop on your thoughts once in a while :)


temperament said...

Congratulations to you.

Some people under the same circumstances as you, might have caved in.

Not everyone of us reacts the same under the same circumstances.

This makes the World a bit more fair, i think.

If i think because of my low education i have no business learning how to invest, i won't be blogging here.

Maybe, that's why at the age of 40 then i dared to plunged into the market.

But it's better late than NEVER!

AK71 said...

Hi Brina,

To be honest, I am only willing to share because I am an anonymous blogger. I am a rather private person, really. If I were not faceless here, I wouldn't be as forthcoming.

Thank you for the kind words. :)

Nick said...

The past teaches us valuable lessons, but it doesn't define us. Our future is determined by what we choose to focus on now. Once we accept the fact that life is not fair, we’ll be more at peace with ourselves. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what we can control and change it for the better.

AK71 said...

Hi temperament,

Thank you for the encouragement. :)

To people in their 40s who are just starting to invest, I will say to them that they are not late, only later. Gambatte!

jojo said...

Thanks very much AK for sharing with us your life's journey and investing gems.
Know the reason why you are so popular? Because you are Real! There are a dime and dozen of investing bloggers out there, but no-one comes close to you being un-selfish in sharing your investing journey with us, and relatable in advising us how to overcome the daily crunch of financial worries and basically living in Singapore.

If not for you, I would not have realized the beauty of CPF compounding. Wish I knew your blog in my twenties! :( But never mind, better late than never :)

AK71 said...

Hi jojo,

Although it was not my original intention, I am glad that sharing my philosophy and experience has helped many readers on their own journey towards financial freedom.

I am just being my usual fallible self here in my blog. Not pretending to be a guru. There is no need for me to do that.

Being as fallible as anyone else, I hope readers will see that if a regular guy like AK can achieve financial freedom, so can they.

Gambatte! :)

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