I have a friend that lives in Australia.
We have conversations about work and life but also about investing. He likes to give me a perspective of a better life if I venture into Australia.
I do paint a life that is more or less consumed by work to him in our conversations. So little time for personal investing, which was what I had originally set out to do.
Sometimes, you could be consumed by the daily life hustle that you could not see a way out.
But if someone were to show you a better scenario and that scenario is realistic enough, it will motivate you to explore it.
Suburban living in a place close by
Shelley is a suburb in Western Australia, Perth. My friend wish for me to guess how much this apartment goes for.
I have no idea how to guess since I do not live in that region. My estimate is either going to be very high or very low. But the idea is likely that the eventual price will run in contrast to what we have in Singapore.
Think we do not have to guess much judging by the stats of the range of prices shown above. The home eventually got sold for 1.8 million in 2017.
For that price, you can get a two-story, 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom home with an area of 1,000 sqm.
The best part is that there is a nice waterfront view and away from the hustle and bustle of CBD life.
In contrast, you can only get a nice 3 or 4-bedroom 120 sqm non-freehold condominium for that price.
Why would moving to Shelley, Perth be a better proposition?
I think this illustrates the idea of geographical arbitrage.
For the same price, you could sell your Singapore condo and move into a place that is much bigger, with a different setting.
My friend would like to think that life is much simpler and cheaper in Australia.
I can have more time to spend on myself and I am in control of my life.
Is this a possibility for myself?
I would say I am open to it.
As nice of a life that is, I do not think I have 1.8 million (probably more today) to sink into a home, and yet have enough assets to provide lifetime income to spend on.
This home however, will fit well with some of you who have higher income, and have amassed more assets, yet are discontented about the hustle and bustle life in Singapore.
Western Australia is not the cheapest place but perhaps with a price point closer to what you get in Singapore, you get a bigger living space.
Not just that, there is a better balance of developed market stability and neighborhood security (don’t butcher me if you think I have grossly misunderstood this, comment below) as compared to a place in Malaysia.
There is a premium for safety and stability. We just not want to pay too high for that safety and stability.
My friend shared with me the case studies of Singaporeans going over. Their lives are better.
They have more time to devote to themselves. The cost of living is lower for the necessary things. Cars are also cheaper.
The jobs there pay more as well (this will be a topic for another day).
I think what Covid-19 did was to make the transition to a more nomadic work much smoother. I was practically at home for 2 months and still churning out the stuff that I was supposed to do. I do not have to meet clients face to face like a lot of my co-workers (the client advisers).
Our head of expat Max leads the kind of untethered life from time to time when he goes on his trips abroad. He spends the time with his wife, the family, living for an extended period in places he likes overseas.
He still stays in touch with work and clients but on his own terms (perhaps sometimes not when we forced him to get some work done. Sorry Max!)
For some of you, this might be more possible.
There is More to life than the Cost of Living
I came round to the idea that life moves in phases.
Even in those life phases, what you do is not set in stone. You might think that your life is more suited to be in Singapore, yet if you weigh the pros and cons and it tells you that Perth or another city is a better option, don’t be surprised you end up in a different country.
We may often worry whether we make the right decision. Some people worry less because their philosophy is one where everything will work itself out in the end. Just do it.
For some, we think that we cannot live with ourselves if we make a life decision that does not work out. I have no good solutions for you. I suggest that you take a hard look at your decision making over the years to see if you have generally made good decisions or poor ones.
If your decision making track record have been poor, recognize that and find someone that have a better grasp of things to work through with you.
Ultimately, my friend thinks that the greatest priority for me and the greatest benefit for me is personal time to devote to what I want to do.
That is the biggest selling point of financial independence.
You learn things along the way.
If you pay attention to yourself, to life as you are working, you might be able to take all the things you do, or want to do but cannot do now, and seperate them into a list of
- I really like to do and want to be part of my life
- I am on the fence about it being part of my life
- I really do not want that to be part of my life
If we separate things out this way, you realize personal time may not always dominate in what we like to do and want to be part of our lives.
There are other things that we want to be part of our lives as well.
Some of the hardest workers out there lead balanced lives because they can compartmentalize the things around them into those 3 categories.
More of #1 less of #3.
And you ended up more balance.
If you ask me, what I want now is my extended family to be part of my life.
My day job involves consistently improving how we can give our prospects and clients a better life. It is mentally challenging but you can see that your effort leads to good outcomes for other people.
The struggle for time to prospect stocks is real, but I got to ask myself which is more important: personal time for investing or helping change people lives.
I can get better at both, and that may be a smaller problem. I can also change the way that I invest, and that would help immensely as well.
But life moves in phases.
Nothing is set in stone forever.
We all tend to look at our decisions in life as life and death perhaps far too much.
Circling back to Shelley, I have no idea why the heck I would get a 1,000 sqm home. My friend Caveman will agree with me that such a home give more headache than utility.
The home would work well for families with kids though.
The worst prospect is that there are no shopping center nearby (like Nex kind of shopping center) and that according to my friend, public transport is a problem.
I lived for 3 weeks in a small town in South Africa. The peace and quiet is great. But the urban boy in me cannot understand how can people surive where their shopping center is a supermarket and some department stores.
I guess some of us got used to this faster pace life.
Friends who migrated, or explored the idea of migrating to Australia, share your thoughts with me.
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