Thursday, 6 August 2015

Trading Away Your Happiness Now To Earn Money

How many of us are trading away our happiness now to earn money, in hopes that if you make enough, you will be able to buy it back later?

I am sure this is a common thinking, consciously or subconsciously. This is akin like, if I strike lottery, I will resign immediately and pursue my passion.

There will not be a conclusion and there will never be a conclusion in this topic. It is a journey. The only time you know the conclusion is when you are in your dying moment (*touchwood).

If you know you are going to die tomorrow, what will you do different today? If everyday, you know you going to die tomorrow, what will you do different everyday?

Here are some quotes:
1) A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty – Unknown

2) If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money - Abigail Van Buren

3) Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy, so they know the value of things, not the price – Unknown

4) No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with your family – Unknown

5) You can retire from a job, but don’t ever retire from making extremely meaningful contributions in life - Stephen Covey

6) The goal isn’t more money. The goal is living life on your terms – Chris Brogan


  1. Hi Frugal Daddy,

    From what you have been posting recently, I am not sure if you can wait till 40.

    Interestingly, I actually set myself a target to be in formal employment till 35. But well, look where I am now. I am thinking blogging about our unhappiness makes us more likely to take some action to change the course. Only the future knows if that's actually a better thing.

    Hopefully, you are not trading too much happiness away at this present moment.

    1. Hi Stoical Keynes

      Welcome to my humble blog and thanks for your first comment here. My replies to you will be a lengthy one.

      Indeed, this is a question that I asked myself constantly - Can i wait till 40 years old?

      My answers and sentiments are not so straight-forward, but in words, they are:

      1) My wife and I agreed that we are currently living our dream lifestyles. In addition, she loves her job. I don't love my job, but I don't hate it either. The things I dislike are office politics, having to adhere to ridiculous workload, "boss is always right" and lesser autonomy to manage my time as and when I prefer. It seems that I have covered all the reasons not to work now. Actually, not really. I don't hate my work. I like it that it gives me an opportunity to learn to manage interpersonal working relationships and work challenges, and I did see myself becoming more professional along the way.

      2) I have an end goal in mind. I think working for another 8.5 years to exchange my life-time financial independence is a good deal. Of course, we don't know how many 8.5 years we have. This is the best I can plan at this moment for my family and my young baby. How many people can retire or have the courage to retire at 40 years old? I think I should count myself fortunate.

      3) This could sound like an excuse or low self-esteem, but my skill-set is too generic and mainly soft skill. My employability is not as high as many. I am not academically proficient to become an ace private tutor too. For this reason, i always practice "never quit without a job". I actually job hopped every 2 years and it usually take me 6 months to find a job, during a job.

      Sum it all, I did want to stop trading off happiness now, but I simply don't have a "better" plan to do that. Since I am a practical person and with high family commitment, I will not be able to do that unless one day, I am enlightened by random wisdom. I have done my due diligence to provide the best for my family and I at the present moment.

      I am happy and proud of you that you possess the quality, courage and wisdom to took your 2nd sabbatical leave. These 2 sab leave are well-planned and you have benefited from the 1st. I am sure you will gain more from the 2nd one. You have indeed become the role model of this post that I have just published today. I will continue to learn, and hopefully one day sooner than 40 years old, I will achieve my financial independence much earlier.

      Have a happy national day, a subset of your sabbatical leave! Cheers!

  2. Hi fd,

    I think some people's ikigai might be to earn money Haha! But I'm quit sure tthat's not yours. Yours seem to be very family oriented. Personally I derive a lot of happiness from my career and will likely contribute as much as I can professional until I don't like it anymore. Hopefully, I have the option not to work anymore haha

    1. Hi LP

      You are absolutely right. I am extremely family oriented. As i constantly mentioned, you have achieved self-actualisation on your career. You are the few rare species that working actually caused your happiness to exponentially grow directly.

      I am sure you have the option not to work soon, if you decided to. It is good to have more options in life. We don't know when we will need it :)

  3. Hi Frugal Daddy,

    Great reminders, I personally do experience the most positive moods of the day while spending time with family and friends.

    I get the impression from observing my richer neighbors that materialistic people are less happy.(I better don't reveal where I stay lol). Could it be that a focus on what we want - and therefore don't currently have - makes it more difficult to appreciate what we already have?

    “When you can’t have what you want, it is time to start wanting what you have.” – Kathleen Button

    1. Hi Andy

      Reading what you write frequently bring me new wisdom. :)

      From what you have wrote, it seems like where you stay belongs to a rich community, including yours. haha.

      Reading your blog and with your few sharings so far, it is not difficult to know that you have "enough", which is wanting what you have.

  4. after reading this I got reminded of story where the Old man says " I act like I am gonna live forever. I think that today is the last day of my life"
    Happiness is here & today.

    1. Hi GP blogger

      The daily events will usually distract us and we easily lost sight of living our best. We just have to remind ourselves frequently until one day, we can internalise and practice it subconsciously :)

      Wish you have found your happiness.

  5. Frugal Daddy,

    Ah! That's why you have chosen this nick ;)

    You know what?

    In parallel to your 8.5 years "plan", you may want to keep an eye on the potential of you being a stay-at-home-dad while your wife continues to bloom in her career?

    Who knows? May bring your "plan" a few years forward?

    Of course that's provided you can win over yourself on this role-reversal ;)

    It's funny when a woman gives up her career to be a stay-at-home mom, it's not considered to be early retirement?

    Go figure!

    1. Hi SMOL

      I did proposed to my wife this idea before but I think aflter weighting the options, it is still best that both of us achieve financial independence at 40 together. However, I may have a pleasant surprise, which is to semi retire at 5.5 years later. If I stay discipline, it should be on the way. It is still not an agony now as we are leading our dream lifestyle minus having to commit working hours to the company.

      If one day I reach my tolerance limit, I may be a house husband sooner? Lol

  6. Hi FD,

    I respect your commitments to the family, that is great. Frankly if your wife love her job, and you prefer to retire early to focus on house career, I am going to "Kowtow" and give utmost respect to you. Why not!!! I have a neighbour who is a part time swim instructor who is doing the same thing and I love his care and concern to her daughters. The daughters are all very sensible and disciplined.

    But about the work, in Singapore it is easier said than done to find a job that you like. We were brought up quite differently here and it somehow seems that since young, we just study, graduate and get a job.

    What is understanding of ourselve, our strength is often neglected in school. That is my Motto "Understand Yourself Early in Life". Then keep searching for your Passion or at least things that interest. Then when you go into a working career, interest and earning abilities can be more aligned.

    1. Hi Rolf

      I csn tell you are a family man too.

      I like your motto on self awareness. Most of us overestimate our knowledge of ourselves. If everyone know themselves well, this world could be a near prefect world. I also like what you said about knowing earlier so that we got time to explore our passion. We can't use brain to think of passion, we need to try and feel it. It is like want to be a doctor and after trying so hard to be a doctor and finally being a doctor, realised it is not the cup of tea. Then regret not being a lawyer. Aspiration also changed, I actually knew few doctors hate practicing medicines and became management or others. Passion can evolve too over time. I like being doctor today doesn't mean I will enjoy doing it for another 10 years.