A story and a message for everyone's financial new year.
I got feedback recently that my stuff has been getting a bit too promotional.
Yes, I have funds that pay 7, 8% a year in passive income with less volatility than REITs. Yes, I can get them paid out monthly and directly to your bank account with just a few signatures. It also probably comes with some kind of discount.
...You know. Stuff like that.
But to be honest, self-promotion isn’t in my nature. It might not seem the case, but it’s true. I’ve never been particularly big on promoting myself.
I don’t like having my picture taken, for one. I have problems making eye contact and holding attention. I don’t often like sharing personal anecdotes compared to factual ones.
In the last two years, I’ve really learnt that people need to like you and trust you before even talking about the problem. And I’m a problem solver, but I’ve not been described as particularly likeable.
It can be hard for a reader to take the time out to drop a message. And there’s a lot of unanswered questions.
What can I do for you that someone else can’t?
Why should I be trusted?
What could I possibly understand about your problems, let alone finances?
I’d like to try a little harder this year. It’s always easier to be open and honest when you see that your Financial Consultant is as well.
So, this… Is me.
My girlfriend’s name is Manow. It means ‘Lemon’ in Thailand.
I fell in love and got together with her officially on August 3, 2016.
It surprised even me, that I fell in love with someone who was so physically far away…Manow lives in a village in Southern Thailand. It's 1900km away.
Its simplistically beautiful in many ways, and I kind of like it.
Imagine a 1950s Kampong on steroids. I think that’s the best description.
…There are literally animals next to power generators.
Before Manow, my plan at the time was to get into NIE, slave away for 4 years and be a slave for another 4 years, and presumably the rest of my life. I made several attempts to try and cut that time short (by simultaneously applying for PGDE and stuff).
It was a pretty decent plan. I had just finished Uni, had 8 years of voluntary tuition under my belt at the Woodland Social Centre, another couple years of private tuition even at a University level (I taught statistics) – with a bunch of grateful testimonials and references to boot.
I loved kids, and I loved teaching. So it was a bit of a no brainer. I was so sure it was my destiny.
But…4 times I applied, and 4 times I was decisively rejected. Didn’t have a clue why. I thought my determination would show or something.
There’s been a lot of underlying pressure because my parents, and my brother in particular, have always gone out of their way to make sure that I could be the best version of me. The sacrifices were made, but there was something lacking.
I didn’t feel as responsible for them.
I didn’t feel responsible for anyone, really. I certainly felt a sense of responsibility – they had done so much for me, and it was my duty to be able to look after myself. Me.
And only me.
So I failed to get into NIE. Again. And there was some tears and some online ranting and a lot of questioning God at church, but… Nothing about me had fundamentally changed.
Money, Money, Money
The biggest trigger happened that month in October, when I received my last NIE rejection.
I had still made very concrete plans to visit her in Thailand, because 1) I hadn’t been there in almost 10 years and 2) she’d been to Singapore twice since we got together, but I hadn’t gone over to visit once. I wanted to declare my intentions to her parents at the time – that I’m her boyfriend. I’m not just playing around with your daughter.
But we were both poor at the time.
She was making a small salary and I didn’t have a job. She worked 30 days a month, 7 days a week, 12 hours a day except for the unpaid vacation she took to spend time with me.
Those were the times we were at our poorest, and we stayed at hotels so cheap sometimes it costs less than $15 for the two of us.
Sometimes those hotels would leak water down the walls. Sometimes the air con would just stop working suddenly.
Sometimes the hotel would have a bathtub, only for it to have so many scratches and stains that it looked like someone’s kidney had been carved out in that bathtub.
The experience humbled me tremendously, because I saw the harsh conditions she lived under and how she thrived under them. There was a constant fear of land (animals, snakes), disease and sea (floods), and there wasn’t any air-conditioning. I’ve become a lot more worried about her since, but she’s stronger than me.
She always has been.
That last night in October of 2016, I barely slept.
I was holding a beautiful girl in my arms who loved me, and I couldn’t offer her anything.
How would I protect her?
How would we be able to afford to see each other?
Didn’t she deserve better?
Something inside me really snapped that night. Like all the lessons and sacrifices that my family had made for me finally kicked in. A side of me I hadn’t seen in really long, an overwhelming desire that’s my mantra for myself and my clients.
I needed money to protect her. To get a house was actually a few feet off the ground, that I couldn’t break open with water or a hammer.
I needed money to see her. I wanted to see her. To fly back and forth, as many times as it took.
And she deserved better. She did.
I wanted to drive her around in a car, not on a dangerous motorcycle in the rain. I wanted her to be with someone who could provide for her, not someone who was broke and helpless.
What I’m building
The story of my recruitment is equally long and it’s not what this is about, so to cut a long story short…I did. It’s still ongoing, but its been my 3rd year since.
I entered an industry where 90% of the people who enter, leave within 2 years.
Where more than ½ of my cohort that I entered training with, has left the industry from the time I’m writing this…