It’s close to the end of the work week and tomorrow is Friday! The day we receive our monthly salary and annual bonus income, which is likely to be our biggest payout in a single day for all of our 8 years of working. I’m excited at the prospects of having such an influx of cash at the end of 2017 and thinking about what I can do with it next year. 2018 is already shaping up to be a significant year, almost like a turning point for us, as we look to get more serious with our careers, finances and family planning.
I reckon it has to do with my wife turning 30 next year and both of us will officially be in our thirties in 2018. I always feel that’s the time to get our act together, step up and actually plan for the future. We had a lot of memorable experiences in our twenties studying, working & living overseas in Melbourne & Sydney, building a more permanent life in Singapore while travelling a lot more for holiday trips. In a way, we didn’t have much to lose, so we took risks and did what we wanted without having to worry much about the consequences.
I wouldn’t say it’s reckless because we still had to take calculated risks, just that our margin of error was bigger when we were younger. There were successes and failures but things have somewhat worked out in one way or another to get us to where we are now. But I realise the costs of being careless, making mistakes and doing nothing will increase significantly for our next decade.
Even as we strive for promotions at work, it could easily backfire and we can end up losing our jobs if we miss out on the development of key trends that move against us. And we do plan to have children, the timing of which can be essential when having to balance the impact of having kids while developing our careers. Waiting too long, pulling the trigger too quickly and even doing nothing on the various plans could have disastrous consequences. We are aware of the higher stakes but we are just not sure which one is more important to us now or will be in the future.
One thing we have always done is to learn from the people around us for as long as they are willing to guide and teach us. I am grateful that our colleagues at work are older than us and are happy to share their life experiences with us. We try to consider more before picking up what works for us and discard what doesn’t work. Another thing that we do is not to let the progress of other people affect us, a benefit from the learning experience of only having each other (my wife and I) to depend on when we were overseas. Being able to focus on what we were doing and our own progress contributed greatly to what we have achieved after returning to Singapore.
Don’t underestimate its psychological impact. It’s very easy in the modern world to get exposed to all the successes of others and feel like you are getting left behind. Look around you, there’s constant media news, blogs, social media updates on how everyone is doing. It can be difficult to filter out this overexposure but you are going to have to try for your own sake. In a way, you have to absorb and learn from everything around you but yet insulate yourself against its psychological impact so you don’t feel bad about yourself. Tough ask!