Tan Chei Huey

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Living Well In The 3rd Most Expensive City In The World

According to this article, Singapore is currently the 3rd most expensive city in the world. The main reason is this – the exorbitant cost of a car and housing prices that keeps going up.

My simple solution?

The car is a temptation on your ego

In this highly urbanized island, driving is not just expensive. It is stressful. You have to deal with rude drivers who simply swerve and cut lanes without warning. I need not even have to drive to experience this – the taxi drivers who pick me up are already complaining to me regularly.

In this new age of Uber and GrabCar, even taxis are not necessary. Do your own objective calculations – taking an Uber / GrabCar / taxi every single day is still far cheaper than owning the cheapest car in Singapore.

A car in Singapore is becoming more and more like a status symbol. Now ask yourself – is this a necessary status symbol? Beyond making you feel good, what will it do to your own bank accounts?

There are much better ways to invest your extra cash than to buy a car that will depreciate as time passes.

If you do need to experience a car as a status symbol – go and rent one. Drive your dream car for a few days and take note of your feelings. Is it a goal you wish to go after? Did that feeling fade?

Will that feeling of owning a car overcome your feelings of being a slave to the monthly instalment payments?

If you can afford it, enjoy driving and love the car more than retiring earlier, than by all means go ahead and proceed.

Alternatively, I do know of certain entrepreneurs who pick up passengers once in awhile to help pay for their petrol. They become part of the gig economy by becoming Grab or Uber drivers – making a decision that their car will put money in their pockets rather than taking money out.

Make your spending work for you

There is a way to fly first class and live the good life – without paying thousands of dollars for it. You can pay for premium seats with this currency called “miles”.

Basically every time you use your credit card, the bank awards you points or in some cases – miles. With some careful planning – you can easily obtain a lot of miles that allows you to redeem for first-class or business-class flight tickets.

Enjoy the good life – by leveraging on your already existing expenses through strategic credit card spend.

The best quality experiences are free

I am blessed to be able to live in Singapore near Telok Blangah. Henderson Waves and the Southern Ridges are beautiful places to go for a walk and sweat it out a little bit. Aside from being able to observe a rich variety of tropical flora and fauna, a walk on the Southern Ridges also affords you some stunning views of the island.

Am I just being overly optimistic? The truth is I didn’t want to give in to my cynical side. There is this video I like to share by Digi.

You can choose to be grumpy and cynical…. and destroy your health in the process. Studies have shown that can being irritable and bitter can hurt your well-being. Or you can choose not to judge and simply be able to see things beyond the surface value.

The happiest friends I have are not necessarily the most well-off but those who showed the highest amount of gratitude.

The best way to increase your gratitude – go and help out with some charity work. Somehow doing good makes you feel good. Whatever sense of entitlement, unhappiness and resentment you have goes away when you realize that there are other people out there who are in such a terrible and unfortunate position.

Not sure which charity group to get started with? Consider Project Goodwill Aid – you can check them out here: http://www.facebook.com/ProjectGoodwillAid

When you deliver meals to old folks who hasn’t eaten a proper meal for days, I can guarantee you feel a sense of compassion. Scientific studies have already suggested that people who practice compassion produced 100{260c08e698fa3fee1203f2f74c397965749e4e3870d80e92ad28191ffda38ea4} more DHEA, a hormone that counteract the aging process and 23{260c08e698fa3fee1203f2f74c397965749e4e3870d80e92ad28191ffda38ea4} less cortisol – the “stress” hormone.

Living well does not always equal to more expenses.

Living well actually equals to more deeper & enriching experiences.

And that’s how you can live well in one of the most expensive tropical islands in the world 🙂

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Tan Chei Huey

Tan Chei Huey is a Singapore-based financial advisor who has been helping clients to build up their retirement nest egg and securing financial protection for their health.

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