I remember I had a piggy bank when I was younger but shorter (and cuter but stupider). But since my daily stipend was 50 cents a day, it remained anorexic for as long as I know. These are some of the stories about saving for the things I wanted (which others remember and I gratefully forgot, because some were downright embarrassing !) ! The first thing I wanted was those retro sticker books; I think the trend was those badass Ninja Turtles and Voltron kind. These were like the coolest things on our small diminutive campus of kids and kiddos. And we would trade like 20 cents plus Raphael (we had no inkling they were names after Renaissance artists, Raphael just sounds cool to an Asian kid) for a Leonardo. Because those darned katanas were just so cool. Having no strength in maths other than remembering the multiplication tables, I had no idea how long I had to save to complete a single sticker book. So conveniently, I looked at the larger piggy bank. Which is my dad’s, it was like a piggy bank on steroids. So using the skills of a 6 year old and some engineering, I crafted a tweezer out of paperclips, and lo and behold, I could get the money out. Instant ATM. This led to the completion of my sticker book. But like every story with a moral value, therein lies the lesson (encoded in cane marks like some crazy kid typing in Braille). ! I got found out. And got caned and realized that if you really wanted something, it should come off the sweat of your brow (or whichever part sweats most). So Lesson 1: Rely on yourself and not on some hare brained scheme, there is no instant ATM. Dont steal, you get caned, applies to adults in Singapore but not in Malaysia, you get a yatch name Equanimity over there. So I started work, and I did a lot of stints as teaching stuff to others (legal stuff this time)in the fitness industry. I had quite a lot of money, because the per hour pay was good. But I spent it like it was water. Rollerblade $330, Rayban Glasses $500. So off I was in my teens , eating cup noodles while contemplating where in the blue blazes did my money go. Lesson 2: Track your expenses. Rollerblades and Raybans are not necessities, you can’t eat them when you are hungry and they are useless if you have no savings. ! Eventually as an adult, or someone who likes adulting but is in his late 20s, I became a better planner and got some savings which I conveniently plunged in stocks in 2007. That was before the subprime. The rest is history (as is my money, thanks Wall Street). Lesson 3: Know what you are putting your money into. Investing and gambling are like how you use razorblades, you can shave with them, or you can mess yourself up pretty badly with them as well. Finally after some lessons and thinking through , the piggy bank disappeared, and got digitized like ordering bak kwa online, just that its not bak kwa but its online. I no longer can feel my coins and the “tink” I get when I drop them in. But at the same time, I am learning everyday how to not make my previous mistakes. I am now looking at financial independence while doing something I love. And realize that financial independence is a series of good choices over a long period of time (and delayed gratification, no more loot boxes). My dream is now financial independence. Lesson 4: Financial Independence is a marathon and not a sprint. And to add a last point – just to make 5 lessons. My favorite quote from fight club. Lesson 5: We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like. Don’t. (okay I added the Don’t). !