Sunday, 28 February 2016


Here, I would like to introduce a new word. I don't really like the word "retirement" as it sounded negative. It is about leaving the employment workforce to start a better life and not about leaving an essential meaningful life (at least from my perspective). It is a whole new beginning of a new and more meaningful lifestyle, so I should come out with a better name. (Thinking here and there...) I will make do with the term "live-better".

Initially, I was planning to live-better by 40 years old. However, my wife mentioned it will be sad for my child to go infant care > childcare > daycare (during primary school), so we decided that one of us will do freelance or part time at 37 year old when my child turns primary 1. This will allow us to pick her up after school and spend more time with her. I proceed to work out my finance and think that it is possible.

From time to time, I asked myself why are we not starting to live-better now? If only finance allows. So, I reviewed and reviewed again.

My financial security (Basic Lifestyle) - End of this year; 33 years old
My wife and my financial independence (Current comfortable lifestyle) - 36 years old

As you can see, my comfortable current lifestyle and my minimum lifestyle are not that different. The difference is actually family related expenses and not personal. For example, budgets for yearly vacation and weekly restaurant meals. I am enjoying every part of my personal and family life.

This is assuming I have not unlocked my premium BTO flat that is beside a MRT. If I have unlocked my premium flat value:

Our financial independence (Current comfortable lifestyle) - 34 years old

Major setback: We are paying mortgage via CPF and if I stopped working, I have to pay my portion via cash or my wife CPF have to cover my shortfall.

With all planning, it is always good to be prudent. So, I have left some buffer which is beyond my financial independence needs:

1) only 2.5% interest for my fund
2) $0 income after financial independence
3) Didn't include CPF life into my live-better fund
4) Assume my child will not provide a single cent to me
5) Not going to downgrade our 4 room HDB flat
6) Not cutting down on lifestyle at any point of time

I think with these cushioning, my finance should be sound enough. In addition, my wife enjoyed her work and may work till 42 years old, to provide more buffer for the family. I am ready to move to walking distance to her workplace any time to support her career and give her more time and convenience.

So when am I going to stop full time employment and live-better? It should be between 34 years old and 37 years old. My gut-feel is 34 to 36 years old. So, the earliest is end of next year.

In addition, I would like to continue generating income by doing 15-20 hours of freelance per week.

What is my secret? My wealth comes from knowing how little it takes for me to enjoy life, be calm and contentment. On the contrary, my wealth don't come from accumulate materials that don't value-add to my life.

Anyway, if you are wondering what is my routine lifestyle of live-better, here is a preview of a possible weekday:

> go for a swim or jog > have an enjoyable slow breakfast and high tea > write a little/do some house chores/do a bit freelance > prepare/eat lunch with my wife > pick up my child > spend time with my child > prepare dinner for my family > watch a drama/enjoy slow walk/chit chat > rest

I will plan outdoor activities during weekdays when most people are away at work and stay at home when most people are not working.

Of course, some of the activities may have variations on a daily basis and every life stages will evolve slightly too, which are part of my plans.

What are your secrets to live-better?


  1. Stay at home dad (sahd)is getting popular in Singapore. Two colleagues' husband are stay at home dad so I am not surprise at all if you choose this route too.

    1. I actually seldom came across sahd. Haha. Ego can be a huge obstacle.

    2. In fact, my neighbour few floors below me is also sahd.

      Most of time see him in singlet, short and slippers.

      Many time, meet them in the lift in the morning sending his two kids to school. He will be carrying his younger son's school bag.

    3. If he ia enjoying the process, I am sure his children will be proud of him

  2. Hi FD

    Wow, you are accelerating your "living-better" lifestyle now to 34-36 years old. That's incredible because they are just an inches away now and within your reach anytime of the year.

    Amazing you almost complete your whole career journey there..

    1. Hi B

      How I wish was yesterday. Haha. You are almost there too

  3. This is a great article on how to live better and you are planning well for it. All the best!

    1. Hi TFS

      Thanks! Glad that you enjoyed reading.

  4. Frugal Daddy,

    Grey grey fuzzy non-precise "planning" at a moving target of between 34 to 37 is cool :)

    Strike Toto can bring it forward to this year.

    Got retrenched push back a few years not the end of the world.

    The key word is what you've written: Live Better.

    And more importantly, how are you feeling now?

    Chill - you're the man!

    Stressed - stop planning and just live better now!


    P.S. If you and daughter passby IKEA Alexandra, jio me out. Ice cream at 50 cents, I can "act" generous and say its my treat!

    1. How to strike toto when I don't buy? Haha. Hopefully, I receive some form od donations like unlimited ikea hotdog and ice cream, anytime, any outlet. Then, happiness index inch up 1 level. See, I so easily contended.

      Give me a few years, we will sure meet 1 day. Haha

  5. Hi FD,

    My Neighbour is also a sahd and seems always happy. So long as the financial is planned. His wife though is a hi flyer and they seems to be quite wealthy. The father is v patient and taught his kids really well! I think u too ll be a good father and sahd too!

    1. Thanks Rolf.

      I start to wonder what kind of property you are staying. Lol

  6. Hi FD,

    I think I am already living better after leaving the corporate world. Even though life is still not perfect, it's a big improvement to a year or two ago.

    I do wonder if I have an extra million, whether I will still maintain my freelance intensity or spend more time cooking/slacking...Tough choice...

    1. Hi SK

      You know me better among the bloggers.

      It is so near, like running marathon and left 4km more. Stop? Walk all the way and double or triple the time?

      I am sure you know what is best for you. If you have an extra million, my guess is that you will live slightly different.

  7. Hi FD,

    How about picking up some part time hobbies like gardening, cooking, or even volunteering? Actually if you have the intention to leave, if possible, maybe you can ease into it by doing part time jobs now. Do update your carefree life so that we know what you are up to!

    1. Hi Jes

      These are definitely possible hobbies. Frankly, whoever say there is nothing to do if not working is just lazy. There are plenty to explore, learn and enjoy. Beside, usually people have commitment. Such as Family, household and so on. How can it be boring!