Saturday, April 21, 2012

RM140 vs RM1400

Have you ever wondered the value of money? A few years back, before I joined my current company, being freshly graduated and all, I would think that having RM140 in my bank account meant that I was very hebat, cos that meant I would be able to survive for another 2 weeks which means 2 weeks less of agony of waiting for the next paycheque. :) Yes, seriously. Lunch, RM5...and dinner, I could always go to my aunt's to tapao a week's worth of yummy nyonya food or have nasi goreng kampung for RM3.50...Life was simple...everyday it would be just thoughts of surviving for another day...or another week...Worse come to worst...there is always the back up Maggi Mee, specifically lontong and duck flavoured :)

Let's not even go too far back, back to university days, secondary school or primary school...that seemed long long long time ago...correct? (of course not, I'm not THAT old)

With that being said, the salary I was drawing a few years back after I came back from Italy was very "fresh graduate-ish"... Standard. I thought, wow, I am a smart engineer, that was pretty good pay. I was proud of myself. Apparently, that was not the case. After deducting income tax, company share deduction, EPF contribution...almost 1/3 was gone. Then the "smart" me decided that I would pay only 5 years for my then newly acquired it's another RM700/mth in installment. RM300 for dad as duit poket. Gym fees, parking fees, fuel, groceries for my uncle's house which I menumpang...really, there was almost nothing left. But  each time I log on into my Maybank2u...if I see 3 digits in my bank account, it always meant good news. Cos it would mean that I would last another 2 weeks. Haha. However, I had to depend on my dad to clear my credit card bills for me first and slowly pay him off during the next paycheque. There were no savings and never extra money in my bank. BUT, I was carefree.

Fast forward 2-3 years...I am now in a new job, technical role, maintenance engineer in a multinational company. The money is now much better than my previous role, I am lucky, I must say so (well, it's not so so so so good)...But at least I do not have to worry about feeding on nasi goreng kampung for the next 2 weeks...I eat whatever I please (not steaks and high end food everyday though!!! But Korean food, Japanese food, western food would always be in the list whenever I go back to KL), be vigilant in my spending, can afford to give my dad a bit more extra, always paid my car installments in time, and even have savings to pay down payment for a house with my beau. Not to mention I can even afford a spa and facial package!!! But you know's stressful. Now with even RM1400 in my bank, yes, 10 times of more than what I would use to have by end of the month, I would feel stressed out. Insecure. Cold. I want the money to grow grow grow so that I can have a good vacation...the money is growing but tooo tooo tooo slowly! I really should be grateful of what I have, but with all the rising costs it doesn't seem to be a lot. Whenever I open my super excel sheet of my so-called "finances", it's actually quite depressing.
"When lah will I be able to afford this?"
"When lah will I be able to pay off this?"
"Why lah all these buggers so damn rich one?"
"Why lah my salary is so little?"
"Why lah I have to wake up everyday at 7am and go to work?"
All these rocket science questions.

Then it dawned upon me. What is the difference between RM140 and RM1400 besides the additional "0"? Age.

It must be the aging. As a fresh did not have to worry about owning a house to settle in, paying for renovations if you were even able to buy a place...nor care for retired parents, pay off credit card bills, investments, weddings to attend (the angpows do cost a lot!!!), plan your own wedding (also cost a bomb!)...starting a family (hence you need savings)...etc etc etc.

So, the conclusion is...the older you get, the more you worry. Now I really know why parents used to tell their anxious to grow up children "Kids, enjoy your childhood while you are still young. Don't hurry to grow up". 100% factual. If only I could rewind my life to when I was 12 and happily buying my RM0.30 bowl of laksa from school canteen.


/'zi:/ said...

i thought i am the only one who wonder how i managed to live <rm10/day! whatever food was fine to pass the day by. but now so mengada. nak makan itu, nak makan ini.

Uncle Lee said...

Hi HC Tan, not sure you still remember me...It's Lee, from Canada.
How you doin'? Hope this finds you well.
Interesting posting. Enjoyed reading it.
My first salary was Rgt 250 once upon a time, ha ha.
You have a nice day, and keep a song in your heart.
Best regards.

zewt said...

it's about coming of age... entering the reality of the world.

we have to remember... during those worry-less carefree days... we didn't really "desire" all those things that we cannot afford now. we had no desire.

H.C. Tan said...

zarina: what to do...nak independent kena pandai plan budget la tu..

Uncle Lee: for sure i remember! :)

Zewt: so's much easier being a student

Jit Shiong said...

So bila kawin?

My bank acc still 3 digits only..u r much better than me.