Writing more and talking to more people, I realize some of our problems as human beings is not being able to take the information we experienced daily, reflect and understand them well, and make good decisions.
One information that we tend not to interpreted well is our pay compensation.
We tend to look at our pay compensation on a monthly basis, and as a person that starts working, $2,500 per month doesn’t look like a lot.
We get angry with society for a high cost of living, chiding the government for not keeping things affordable. We chided ourselves for not studying well, or have a great network, good negotiation skills to get a $4,000 per month starting salary.
That sounds like the complaints that I hear often.
Here is an even better one. I heard of folks throwing a less than $100 increment letter in the face of the boss and telling him “I quit!”
If we have filtered out a lot of the noise (our angst, our regret), you will realize that you are in control of how you spend that $2,500.
Effective budgeting and allocating your $2,500 can provide much clarity, purpose and control to your life.
To build wealth, it helps to understand the immutable formula for wealth building. However, if we don’t say this out, some will keep looking to different ways to build wealth without realizing what are their most important asset.
The Human Capital in you
Your most important asset, for much of your life, is not your home.
It is not your CPF either.
Your education, in academics and in life, puts you the most important asset at your disposal.
When I first wrote this article, we have quite a few people start off earning $2,500 a month. Nowadays, it is higher at perhaps $3,000 or even $3,500. But let us stick with $2,500.
$2,500 per month doesn’t seem like a lot. If we add the 12 months we earn + 1-month bonus, the total sum comes up to $32,500.
A 3% increment on that $2,500 is $75. That looks like a sum that is insulting, but essentially percentage-wise, it is not that insulting.
If we project forward your miserable monthly pay with your less than amusing increment for 10 years, and you will earn $372,576.
That’s almost the cost of a build to order flat.
How come we don’t see this amount? That’s because nowadays, we don’t receive this amount in an envelope. You cannot hold this amount in your hands and feel how substantial it is.
If it is tangible, you felt that you have to be responsible for this amount.
Today we live in a cashless society. Your pay gets credited into your bank account.
You don’t see it at all. You just go to an ATM or use NETs to spend it.
Planning is the furthest thing on your mind.
Wonder if you could just, plan well, you could perhaps just, save 25% of that for $93,000. Channel this amount to building wealth and you can kick start in a small way to planning your financial independence.
It is likely you don’t see this amount, you don’t plan, you don’t have clarity where it went to, and then you reflect one day when you are 45 years old, thinking, where did all this money go to?
You are the most important asset, and it is your job to make sure you enhance and preserve this asset:
- Certifications and courses to enhance and retain competency
- Get an MBA
- Network extensively
- Develop a good EQ, maintain good communications with your peers, bosses and customers
- Learn to negotiate well
Do it well and you enhance that 3% to 7% or 10%.
If you progress to make $60,000 per year, the next 10 years you will accumulate $687,000.
If you concentrate on building wealth but failed to progress enhancing your human capital, you lose out on substantial and predictable “capital gains”. Your investments might or might not generate the desired returns, but your pay compensation have a higher degree of predictability.
Build up Your Wealth Assets as a Safety Net, as your Human Capital Goes Down
Your human capital does not go on forever:
- After the age of 25, your brain starts slowing down. What becomes easy when you are 24 years old becomes difficult at the age of 40 years old
- You become very expensive, and add to that, your health risks, low energy makes you look an attractive retrenchment proposition versus the vibrant 30-year-old
- Globalization has made your job harsher, competitive and somewhat unstable
In light of this, it is important to channel adequately to wealth building. Your wealth assets build up while your human capital goes down.
Your wealth assets provide a safety net/contingency plan / alternative income source in case life throws you a curveball.
Hedging your Human Capital with Insurance
You generate such a substantial amount that, the loss of that capability will cause distress in life itself. All your dependents need you to be working.
And thus it becomes important to cover yourself adequately with disability income insurance.
Disability Income insurance typically covers 60-75% of your last drawn income. Depending on the insured amount, they tend to cost $40 per month to insured an income of $2,000 per month to the age of 65 should you not be able to work in your trained profession.
The underwriting for disability income can be very stringent. Do declare any pre-existing conditions well in case, when you need it, they find fault and find you ineligible to claim.
The short-sighted inability to evaluate figures in aggregation results in most of us not being able to realize that we can evaluate whether we want things now or plan for the future. You are your biggest asset, and enhancing it may bring more satisfactory returns versus channelling more efforts to building wealth.
Yet, building wealth is important simply because as time passes, it provides an opportunity for you to step down, take things easier.
Start by learning how to better plan your human capital today.
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