Who I am
I am a mom, wife and creative who happens to really like personal finance. This love for finance is something I’ve had since I was a teen and my knowledge grew as time goes by via trial and error. I remember in college, after one of my 101 Economics class ended, my professor told me that I should consider going into finance. I chuckled a bit inside since the world of finance seemed old and stuffy, and I gently declined. Fast forward… I feel like maybe I had made a bad decision in terms of my career. But, whilst I may not have a BA/MBA in finance, I am glad that I got back into it. About ten years ago I stumble upon Mr Money Mustache and the FIRE movement got me really good. Ever since then I tried to learn as much as I could about ways to save money and investments. But, after giving many of MMM’s methods a go, many of the strategies didn’t quite suit our family really well. My husband, for example, wasn’t keen on focusing too much on the financial future and not living in the moment. we have two kids and we want them to enjoy as many activities as possible. We were also living overseas and we want to travel as often as we could. It took us a bit of time to get to this spot, I’ll share more later, but with a lot of experimenting, tweaking, and heart-to-hearts, we figured out a good balance that works for our family.
A bit about my family
Half of my childhood was spent in Asia. Until age three I lived in a one-bedroom shack and I am almost the toilet was not in the house. Then we were able to build a better home and I had my own bedroom. I learned how to be decent with money from my grandpa, dad and mom. My grandpa was a self-made successful businessman who looked like the typical guy next door. My dad was the most tightwad person I know but wants to seem generous to others. My mom can spend money as if they grow on trees but she was very good at making a lot of money also.
My grandpa was a hard-working man. He had so many obstacles but somehow he managed to get through them and more often than not, came on top. He sacrificed a lot, one being his family (and us living in a shack), but financially, he died a millionaire.
My dad was a product of childhood trauma. A lot of neglect when he was very young since my grandpa was so focused on building his business. Being the kind of child who was sensitive and needed a lot of guidance, the neglect caused a lot of harm as an adult. Even with an MBA and working my grandpa’s already flourishing business, he never did well and there was always tension with my grandpa. Despite being second in command, dad’s income has always been good but limited. We figured that because he was never taught how to manage money, and he has this inner fear of being neglected and sent off to an orphanage, my dad is always tight with money. For example, he’d pay for lunch but then later, privately, asking my mom to pay him back because it was her idea. Or, they’d buy shoes and he’d ask her to pay because he forgot his money, and she would, but he would never pay her back. If it was the other way around, he’d demand her to pay back the second he saw an ATM.
My mom was a bit spoiled growing up. She had nice things bought for her often. Since my dad’s income was just enough to pay for daily needs and basic extras – she was only given x amount by my dad and that amount was supposed to last the whole month – she decided to use her sewing skills to make extra cash. In just a couple of years, her side gig became a full-time job, with about a dozen people under her, and she was making way more money than my dad. But this success didn’t come until after I was in high school.
Growing up financially confused
Due to my dad’s bizarre relationship with money, how he handled our finances and that we lived in a very simple house, a shack almost, as a child, I thought we were poor. The confusion came from not allowed nicer things, i.e. a nicer book bag for school – my mom would say we don’t have the money for it. Or, her saying we can’t afford oranges because they’re too expensive. But we were able to go on a few holidays throughout the year and my dad always had a camera with fresh rolls of film. This contradicting childhood affected my relationship with money also, especially in my earlier adult life.
Until recently I had a fear of spending money. I struggle a lot even for something as simple as buying a printer. I would research too much and even after the purchase I’d get buyer’s remorse or thinking that I should have bought the other one.
Why I decided to blog
I am hoping that via this blog I can help all of us not just learn about finance but also reflect on ourselves on why we do the things we do. I hope that as we mature, we fill not only find financial independence but also joy. Something my mom always said to end this post…
Do what you love, do it well, and the money will follow.
Oh, in my spare time I like to travel, try all the tasty food from each country, photograph interesting and pretty things along the way, read, and eat ice cream.