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The best advice wasn't given, or said, but seen. Just a simple 4 letter word.
Dad was retrenched from his company when I was in Primary School. I remember he went from driving this lorry as a supervisor to driving his old Daihatsu. I didn't know what was going on then, but he still put food on the table for the family.
He dabbled in a few other ventures such as being a property agent. None of them really worked out. In the end, he settled on driving taxi as a night shift. His health wasn't the best, but he went out and drove religiously anyway, squirreling away enough money to keep the family going.
Often, he'd be hit by fare cheats who just ran away when they reached their destination. We'd only find out after he came back from his shift and lamented about it. I sensed a bit of anger and hurt whenever he shared those stories. I'd be furious too. But he never really came back early even if he was hit by a fare cheat early on. He just kept driving, and I know that silently he was just hoping for a good pickup to turn things around. The only times he came back early was if the taxi broke down.
Time caught up and he eventually retired earlier this year. But looking back at his work hsitory, if there's a lesson to be seen in it, it's that of grit.
He never gave up even when he was retrenched. He may have failed in other ventures, but he never gave up trying to find a job that he could do. When he finally picked up driving, he may have been cheated countless times by fare cheats, but he never stopped driving for the day just because it happened. His taxi may have broken down, but he was always back driving when it was fixed. He only knew how to carry on doing what he always did, and so he just persevered, even if the odds were stacked, or the day was just terrible for him. That's sheer grit for someone who didn't even make it to secondary 3.
Thanks Dad. Have a good retirement. It's my turn to carry on with your grit.
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I can't single out a best personal financial advice given to me by my dad but would like to thank him for the good financial habits he inculcated in me. Learning to save from a young age which is now ingrained in me and introducing me to investments when I was ard 18yrs old. Although more than 10 years later after becoming of age, I'm still finding it difficult to spend money and learning how to do so (apart from necessities and investments), it was a good foundation to build from!
Him coming from a technician to engineering (he did his diploma and graduated with 42 distinctions when I was in kindergarten and later attempted his degree at NUS when I was in sec sch but dropped out due to failing eyesight – side story on how lifelong education improves your pay) background also taught me that fixing stuff yourself can save a lot of money. A recent example of this was when I needed to change my motorcycle air filter. Was quoted $80 from a shop for a 5 min job. Decided to go on shopee to buy an air filter for $10 and replaced it myself. However, over the years, I’ve also learned that it may not be cost effective to replace everything yourself. It also depends on factors such as your pay, amount of free time, your expertise in fixing the thing and whether you enjoy the process of fixing. No point reducing your quality of life by a large amount to save a small amount of money. So it’s a fine line, and I realised that I have digressed.
So, I shall end off with a big thank you to my dad for his life lessons, and happy father’s day to all the dads out there! (:
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