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Kok Koon

FI-ing via the S Quadrant

Kok Koon

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FI-ing via the S Quadrant

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Kok Koon

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Career

Kok Koon
Kok Koon
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
I can't tell you what to do, I can only tell you what I did. I did accounting degree too and my passion is in digital marketing. Didn't do the Big Four route cos I couldn't see myself pass 12months, let alone 36months to get my CA. At 24, I dreaded my corporate work and after working 14 months + pay back all my study loan. Quit my job to start a business. Learn lots from the first business but eventually parted ways and build my side hustle with focus. The OMO served me well but I was evaluating my choice when I saw my friends rising up their corporate ladder. At 29, I had to decide if I want to stay self-employed or go back and start from the bottom of the ladder and work my way up. So I took a #yolo trip to #findmysoul - i intended it 6 months but with an ongoing project I took 2 weeks. In that 2 weeks of travel, i realised what I had was a firstworld problem. I was doing ok and I want to jettison everything for something uncerta I also remembered why I dread a corporate job - I even filmed the dreadful CBD crowd marching towards their offices in the morning and watch it on my phone when i was talking a 5-day professional course to be reintroduced to corporate life. That drive kept me out of a corporate career. So, my journey is somewhat similar, questions and questions before the big 30. If you have financial commitments/liabilities, make sure your decision is risk-calibrated/managed. Otherwise, experiment fast. One thing I've learned so far about career/work choices: Few know exactly what they are meant to do/their true north/ikigai. For me, i learn to strike out quickly what I hate doing and keep trying new things. Once I find something/a community I like, I dig deep. Kiss many frogs, one might become a prince. Date the prince. If it's a good fit, marry it with the rest of your life and make the most out of it. Carpe diem!

General

Savings

Kok Koon
Kok Koon
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
Heyo QP! Fellow self-employed here: Leaving you a video comment as typing it out will take way too much time: Video link: = https://cl.ly/8be3f3c7785e IRAS Calculator: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjys3cpOTdAhWLrI8KHZbRCGcQFjABegQIBxAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.iras.gov.sg%2Firashome%2FuploadedFiles%2FIRASHome%2FIndividuals%2FTax%2520Calculator%2520-%2520ResidentsYA17.xls&usg=AOvVaw36RaJQAX74G-15QyTe7KJt

General

Kok Koon
Kok Koon
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
Biggest wins in Q3 2018: - Investment in people and human capital. - Volunteering and giving out of pure goodwill. There's no wins in hoarding knowledge. - Stop lurking and started writing conscientiously for Seedly instead of for a new blog for selfemployeds in SG. - Contribute article ideas which I neither have the time or resources to do but will be big wins for some blogs. In the 3-4 months since I started writing here and other niche interest groups, I have 8 people who are helping me with my new business venture/project (previously 0), pointing me to resources and network that would have taken me hundreds of hours to get there. === Give and it will be given back to you. Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. === In the last 4 weeks, I've met and meeting some Seedly members face to face + long PMs with hidden dragons who are so generous with their sharing. Tonight I'm also getting accepted to attend a talk on CPF investment by the speaker although the tickets are all sold out. The wisdom I'm gleaning gave me SO much clarity and direction to work on my investments. I took some photos for reference but no, I'm not posting them here to respect the privacy of these folks.

General

Kok Koon
Kok Koon
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
Never say which currency. #ididntsayruppiah. Anyway, if she doesn't know the cost and the % success rate is high, I'll ask my grandma if she had a fulfilling life and if there's any regrets she has that can be reversed. ! What is right may not be popular. What is right is also dependent on the nuances of circumstances. I can say all I want, but when the situation comes, I may act differently. #cosweareallhumans
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Investments

Insurance

Career

Kok Koon
Kok Koon
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
Family offices, fund management companies also work on % fee for AUMs. Market still used to getting advice from financial advisors for 'free' at this point although this is changing. Daniel (google him) from DIYinsurance, is fixed salary but the company that pays him is still paid by insurance companies. I like that he speaks with so much passion about his job. There is a market for your service. Especially comprehensive ones that looks into not just protection, but asset allocation, investments, generational wealth planning, wills, trusts/foundations, business continuity base on family needs, age and risk profile. However, you really need to target a VERY SPECIFIC audience who knows, likes and trusts you to sustain a business. Become the valuable advisor people will pay to have you around. The question then is - who do you want to serve? Do you enjoy being with your chosen clients or just because they look glam? Be so good in your chosen niche that they cannot ignore you. Differentiate yourself by educating your market and give practical, high value, usable advice. Let your free content be so good that your paid content or services or training will be so in demand people queue for it. We treat those who treat us well. The law of reciprocity.

AMA SG Young Investment

Credit Card

Kok Koon
Kok Koon
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
I don't know how much you owe but I got $11k student debt when I graduated. The upside was that the economy so bad in 2008 that all banks were requested by the Government to suspended interest charge on study loans: ! What I do to clear my debts: 1. Work like there's no day no night. Hustles, side jobs. Eat dabaos. After 9-5 work go do part-time jobs. Weekend go helpout at events. When you work no day no night, where got time to spend right? 2. Live like a pauper. Bring mother go holiday take budget $300 flight to China but take 13 hrs and 2 connecting flights. Poor mom. And I cleared the Debt in 13 months. 3. Question yourself Sorry ah, poster. If it's consumer debt, please go and work. Don't let the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers be right that you are a strawberry. You got the debt, you suck it up and work your a off. You need a mirror. Don't waste time asking for magic pills in Seedly. The people here put face put profile and you hide behind anomity to ask questions. If the credit card debt came from medical bills you have my sympathy, otherwise, just work it off. A bit harsh ah. But you asked what you need to do. Do it.
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AMA SG Young Investment

Expenses Tracking

Savings

Fresh Graduates

General

Kok Koon
Kok Koon
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
At 26, I didn't have a choice. I gave up a lucrative career in finance/audit to run my own business. So with that mind, I benchmark my peers who are climbing the corporate ladder. Then, my calculation was using the median income of my friends at $X,000. I would need $X,000 x 12 months ( + 2 months bonus) x 1.17 (additional 17% in CPF from employer) x 1.2 ( 20% Risk premium for selfemployment) to make sense for me to stay in business. Otherwise, I should go back to my corporate career. Now I can't turn back. Did I shortchange myself? Perhaps at the initial 2-3 years, but I still went for my holidays (regional to start with), invest in $4,000 courses to master business skills and bring my mom overseas every single year. At 34 this year, 10 years since I graduated, my newly wedded wife and I both hit FRS, maxed MA and have a decent warchest ready for equity investments. I'm nowhere near FI but with the exact same planning - savings and low consumption, I'm on track. If the economy tanks today, my home (bought cheaply) can be paid for with CPF OA for the next 10 years. We can choose to travel on the cheap when there's blood on the streets, all because of savings. #genxyolo -- I'm sharing with you this because I graduated in the ashes of 2008 financial crisis and have made several boo-boos in investments along the way, loosing tens of thousands. The biggest saving grace is that in the midst of it all, high savings help corrected all the mistakes I've made and give me the bullets I need that will propel me to FI when the next financial crisis come. If I chose to consume inordinately, I won't be able to sleep with a peace of mind as my responsibility as a family man grow bigger. Nothing is forever, esp good jobs and good economy. So a good savings habit keeps you dry on rainy days. You also don't need to suffer for FI. Just live below your means.

General

Kok Koon
Kok Koon
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 07 Jun 2019
I think the primary focus for those starting out is active income. The best returns are your time and effort at this age. Then read up massively while savings are being built up. My occifer pay went to Evergreen Bookstore in Bras Basah. On good days, I found Freakonomics for $1. Another good buy I remember was The Last Lecture for $2.50. I sold for $8 after reading on Yahoo. Like Kenneth Lou, I read the Rich Dad series and played the cashflow game when I was 17-18. I think only one or two of my friends are still actively applying the concepts taught in the game. It was an eye-opener. When I was in Uni, I remember committing 1 year to reading a book a week (outside my coursework). I didn't hit 52 books but was close enough - 50 books. That was true education. Not my textbooks. Investing in yourself is the true passive income. Or rather, income that will pay never-ending returns. Edit: I went for a speed-reading class in the last few months of NS to help me prep for university readings as well as to juice out knowledge from books cos seminars were pretty unaffordable. $210 then, which was a princely sum. But well worth the spend!

Expenses Tracking

Family

General

Kok Koon
Kok Koon
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 26 Mar 2019
We are still figuring out (1.5years married nia) but so far, it goes by the bandwidth and strength of the spouse. I'm managing the investments, protection and retirement planning while le-wife takes care of the holidays, bills payment and automation. Her paying for our daily spending is more frequent using her miles card but I do the lump sum transfer like refunding the housing grant and helping her hit FRS fast. As far as it goes, my money is ours and her money is ours. It might seem the contribution is disproportionate but the circumstances may change with economy and career stability or health crisis. I always say I'll never know one day we may depend on her income. The spilt and management will be unique to individual couples. Kids will be another area of management but we work on getting a common approach that fits both our value systems. That's our fulfilment of vows made to each other - that all my worldy goods I endow to thee. :D

Lifestyle

Family

Education

Kok Koon
Kok Koon
Level 5. Genius
Answered on 14 Dec 2018
Do you have any expectations for his career choice? And what does he want? I was given a slot for accounting in NTU and had 2 years during NS to make a switch. It was my 3rd choice. I was toying with the idea of applying for my other preferred area of study. Accounting wasn't my choice. My sister simply said, "you can take history/geography (any other subject interest) in your free time while taking accountancy (as a professional degree) but not the other way." And that one can achieve an honors, professional degree from a renowed business schools in 3 years sealed the deal. I wanted to get out of school, as fast as possible with the lowest (time and monetary) cost - fulfil my job as a good Singaporean son, take the photo and then carry on with my (real) life. I didn't do well in school but graduated anyway. I was trying different things from online marketing to selling flowers on V day at Orchard Road. Benjamin Loh, a local accounting grad and fellow Seedly community member, shares his experience: https://blog.smu.edu.sg/undergraduate/what-learnt-after-getting-cs-and-ds-during-university/ A few key considerations: 1. Accounting is a professional degree (like lawyers and doctors, we are guided by Accounting Laws and Code of Conduct/Ethics). One cannot be an accountant (CPA/CA) without a formal degree + working experience. On the other hand, the things computer science degree can achieve, one can do on their own time without risking staying in school. Quite honestly, I'm not sure our locals can code as well or fast as the Chinese and Indian undergrads that take the 1st and 2nd class honors in our local unis. My friend entered uni 2 years ahead of me graduated at the same time as he dabao (repeated) 2 sems worth of modules. Suffice to say, a structured program may bring out the best in him in the shortest time - if he has a good computer science degree AND has side projects with many users, he can be a great programmer with Google with 6-figure annual salary in the first year. And I don't know many accounting grads who are paid as well in google as their computing engineers. 2. The value of uni education For me, the value of uni education is not the knowledge but in the building of the analytical mind, collaboration with others, project management, rigour in arguments, being professionally critical. Being in a business school and specifically in accounting does mean that at some point, my friends will become partners in accounting firms, CFOs/CEOs, financial controllers with regional roles - some already are. The alumni link, network, all have value. If I need insights of the job market, internship opportunity for a relative - it's a phone call away. This however, is not confined to accounting. Computer science have their own illustrious alumni, seniors, power connectors that can bring your child to Silicon Valley in double quick time. Why not right? 3. He will be bearing the consequences of his decisions, not you. I guess the fact that you are asking on Seedly (age group 24-35 - mostly) shows your willingness to hear us out. To be honest, no one can give you answers. That's why I started the answers with questions. Your role in the entire conversation is to help him get clarity. Communicate your pride, confidence and support for him through the way you talk to him (focus not the outcome, but the process). Have confidence that having guided him well thus far, he will figure his own path - even if he might take a while. I didn't pursue the lucrative career in accounting. But when I connected the dots backwards, my own interests, natural talents and inclinations are converging in my 30s. I'm not hitting where i think my potential is but I am grateful that I stayed my own course. Some will only realise they are in the wrong place in their 40s, 50s. Not impossible. but will be harder to change then. We have much to learn about parenting ourselves. You are almost done getting your kid to adult. It's something worth looking forward to. Jia you jia you!
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Level 5. Genius
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