Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Achieving Financial Independence, or later?

I have been pondering about this for months. A decision that will affect my family well being. 

Currently, my wife and I both are working full time. We should be achieving financial independence by end year 2019 (age 35) but with 1 of us working till year end 2022 (age 38) for buffer.  With the arrival of my 2nd child, someone has to take care of him, (baby boy) from next year Aug 17. My wife love her job and her work environment is good. However, my income is higher (I don't hate my job either) but my wife will also enjoy working mother relief n subsidy. Hence, it make more sense for my wife to continue working. So, there is no perfect equation on who should carry on to run the "rat race".

Now, the question is, should I similarly place my 2nd child in the infant care or I taking up the caregiver role? 

Here are the 2 scenarios:

1)  I leave workforce at 33 years old, Aug 2017, to take care of my children:

  • Child will not fall sick every other week in infant care centre
  • My wife income is sufficient to cover household expenses
  • More manpower to cope with family matters
  • More family time for the children upbringing
  • No more urgent leave and awkward working arrangements to deal with family matters
  • Leaving workforce without achieving Financial Independence
  • 2 more years to achieve our financial goal (End year 2024 at 41)
  • I may not be able to get back similar salary and I know I wouldn't be keen to return to full time workforce
  • I will have lesser CPF balance
2) Both of us working together to achieve Financial Independence

  • Leaving the workforce with more financial certainty
  • Potentially avoiding awkward family financial situations with one depending on another
  • Achieving financial goal 2 years earlier (End year 2022 at 39)
  • More CPF balance for retirement
  • Children falling sick often
  • Less family time
  • More taxing to deal with more housechores with more children, especially when they are sick
  • Plenty of urgent leave and awkward working arrangements to deal with family matters
Our inclination is for us to continue working since it is only 3 more years from now. If we can't cope, I will then leave the workforce permanently to be caregiver.

What are your views?


  1. We have seen many single household income achieving full financial independence (i.e. both couple have options to stop working anytime).

    1. Hi CW, thanks for your input. I am sure single household income can achieve FI, but it come with much uncertainty and slower if I leave the workforce without achieving FI.

  2. Frugal Daddy,

    You may want to re-read what you posted ;)

    Who knows what will happen in future?

    You and/or wife may get retrenched, fall sick or have an "unplanned" 3rd child...

    Or maybe life will turn out exactly as you have planned...

    I find these 2 more earlier and 2 more years later considerations bemusing.

    Who is the master, who is the servant? It appears the "plan" is pulling the strings... Wink.


    1. Hi SMOL, thanks for giving me a mirror. haha. Precisely because of financial uncertainty, I can't undo the "plan" to go for option 1. The thing is I desired option 1 but option 2 make more sense. It is only 3 years. Then again, how many 3 years we have right?

      This is why I have been pondering for months. divided.

  3. Hi FD ,
    I would agree with you and choose for the 2nd option as to increase the margin of safety " and reduce the margin of error ... but this is just my 2 cents..
    Sometimes , we should not be bogged down by our " choices " ,,, with your " frugal " and detail planning ,, I'm sure it will lead to happy family life , whichever path you choose ..
    Cheers !! Gambateh :-)

    1. Hi STE, you are the only supporter for option 2 here. haha. Thank you for your input and kind words. To be honest, these 2 options are really close. Both have its merits. Hopefully I can gain enlightenment on this soon.

  4. both of you are still so young, plenty of yrs ahead! you shd work to contribute to our nation and society !
    i am also curious how u can achieve financial indep so fast?

    1. Thanks Jimmy for contributing to the workforce! Please allow me to contribute to Singapore in my style :)

      Nothing secret, saving rate, planning, mindfulness. Investment may help if you are "expert"

  5. Perhaps one works full time and another part time?

    1. Hi starlight

      This is definitely a great idea. However, my income will be 10-20% of my current income. Rate of return doesn't make sense. Unless I can find something like $20-30/hours, provided I master the skill? It is hard to juggle infant with a part time job too.

  6. Hi FD,
    My view is the same as Yogi Berra's: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
    You see, when you talk to the age-experienced about their regrets in life, they most often share regrets about not having done something. They hardly ever regret something they have done.
    What does that tell us? Just do it.
    Spending time with your kids, seeing them grow, having the opportunity to really raise them and pass your knowledge on to them is priceless.
    And if your money runs out, you can always go back to work full- or part-time later.
    How can't retire from your corporate duties forever. You will get bored and will look for something to do anyway.
    Go with your heart on this one.
    "It's the heart that knows the path. The mind is just there to organize the steps." - Jeff Brown

    1. Hi Andy

      Your input strike me deeply again :) I really desire for option 1 but it is a struggle between the brain and the heart.

      Let us take a marathon for an example. My style is that I usually run and jog throughout without walking and pausing. Once you stopped the momentum, I may never be able to return to the form or continue again. This is what I worried.

      The satisfaction of completing the marathon with my best effort is also high, given now is something like the last 2 laps.

      Heart pain, brain freeze. This is last I hoped. I need meditation, to synchronise my brain and heart.

      I still have 8 months to make a decision, hopefully I gained enlightenment.

  7. But not option 3?

    Both work 1.5 yrs, then one continue the next 1.5 years?

    I personally have tendered even though I know that my industry have surplus pepple and I will most probably not be able to come back in again. But with my 3 kids (5-2yr) growing so fast, I have to tell myself that we have enough and to be contented.

    Other than spending time with them, I'm intending to self study CFA.


    1. Hi FFE

      Thanks for your input. Good to know you have travelled the less common path. Knowing enough is a blessing.

      Just to clarify- 3 more years is provided both of us work. So your suggestions cannot be added up to the same result. :)

  8. I achieved Financial Independence since 2007 at the age of 35yrs old.

    It's been 9 years since I've worked.

    My advice is to just keep working and make yourself useful and socially relevant.

    My life is now nothing but eat, play, sleep.
    I am quite useless literally in the real world 'coz nobody will employ me. I'm old and employers don't really want people who are out of the workforce for too long.

    1. Hi Wealth Journey

      Welcome and thanks for your input.

      Good to hear from ppl who have been there. You are so humble :)

      My question arised because of caregiving role vs having enough earlier, so It is not pertaining to what i should do after fi. Haha. To this point, i am not worried about having nothing meaningful to do. We have planned that day for years. :) we have andy, mmm, smol and now cw who are enjoying their freedom. At least work because you want and not because we need to.

      You are in good position to choose your destiny and how you want to live. Cheers