7 Habits I Started in my 20s that Prepare me to Retire at Age 45
Is it really possible to retire at 45 in Singapore? How can it be done? At 45, it seems like it’s not an option with the complicated financial responsibilities and debts, not to mention the little ones who need you to keep on working…
However, retirement to me is to be debt-free and I don’t have to keep working to pay off loans. Work is an option and I can lead the lifestyle I want. I’ll have assets that give me regular income through growing my insurance business, investments and properties. I gave myself a 20-year goal when I first joined the financial industry. And the results? I am almost there…
Financial Freedom is Achievable
I did not come from a rich family. My father was a civil servant in a support administration role, and my mother, a housewife. However, they were the ones who first taught me about money. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not investment experts, but they always told us to save our pocket money for rainy days and not to seek instant results. Staying disciplined and prudent with money was instilled in me since young.
When I switched to the financial industry from an engineering job, it was then when I realised that achieving financial freedom did not seem like a “Mission Impossible”. I discovered that through money planning and financial aptitude, it is absolutely possible.
Don’t roll your eyes yet though I know this is the umpteenth time you hear this. Granted, some things are simply easier said than done, so that’s why getting into good habits while you’re young is so imperative. Here, I’ll be sharing 7 life hacks I learned in my 20s that prepare me to retire at an early age. I hope they can land you on a better path to achieving financial freedom. If I managed to do it, so can you!
1. Disciplined Savings
Saving even a small amount in your 20s will set you up for a lifetime of financial success. I learned that it is important to have a disciplined saving plan from our income. Many people choose to spend first then save the rest, I chose the opposite approach. Living below our means and keeping to a budget enables me to put my money aside to good use.
2. Spend Money Wisely
Cash flow is one of the most important things to be aware of, especially in your 20s. You need to know where your money is going. Make sure that you don’t spend money on depreciating liabilities but rather spend it on appreciating assets. These assets may be savings insurance, stocks, properties or even a side business, which enable you to build multiple streams of income.
3. Taking Risks
When we’re in our 20s, don’t be afraid to try new things and dare to dream… and dream big! We‘ve nothing much to lose anyway. Having an open and curious mind is vital to accelerate our learning curve. You’ve to challenge the status quo to gain the freedom to grow. The reality is, if you’re doing what everyone else is doing, you’re just trying to do it faster or cheaper. If I had not stepped out of my comfort zone to start exploring options, I wouldn’t have learned so much. It’s the calculated risks that creates wealth to realise one’s dream.
4. Do Things You’re Passionate about and Persevere
I believe that passion, perseverance and a positive attitude set successful people apart from the rest. A successful person has to love what he or she does. You may be an employee or an entrepreneur, passion is the key that keeps the business and company going. And with passion, you’ll most probably persevere to achieve the goals you set.
5. Plan & Move
To fail to plan is to plan to fail. In what is one of the most commonly imparted adages of this era, we are constantly reminded of the importance of having a plan in order to succeed. But it’s true, we have to plan and execute it conscientiously. We learn and make changes to improve along the way. You’ve to be always on the move, ever ready to take action.
6. Kill the Thief of Time – Procrastination
To be honest, everybody procrastinates. And it is always the biggest hurdle as it’s always easier to say “let’s do it tomorrow”. This slows us down and makes us lose momentum. Overcome it by always planning ahead, set realistic goals daily and check those tasks at the end of the day. Make every day count. Why? Because once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
7. Make a lot of Mistakes
Regardless of what society would’ve you believe, our 20s are the best years to make mistakes. We should not be afraid to make mistakes because every mistake is a learning experience. With fewer responsibilities, it’s always easier for us to start over. Failures are often crucial in finding what really works for us, so fret not.
What will I do after “Retirement” at 45?
A lot of people asked me this question. Simply put, I want to do what I love to do. I hope to work with young people and aspiring entrepreneurs to develop them to become as successful, if not more successful than myself. I would love to spend some quality time exploring the world with my family and 2 daughters, while teaching them the right values and skills. I would also want to participate in missionary work to help the less fortunate children. I believe that learning and sharing is a lifelong journey and I’ll continue to acquire knowledge that enables me to grow.
Contributed by Ms Eunice Yuen
Ms Eunice Yuen is a Group Agency Manager, currently leading a group of over 100 financial consultants and a team of 10 agency leaders.