Hello, Mrs Y here. I was busy working this afternoon in my office and all of a sudden, thought of a conversation I had with a friend during beginning of the year. As it was time for New Years Resolutions, I asked her what she wanted in her life. Her answer was a successful career, a happy marriage, and a condo in the city. I smiled.
Here's some background information about my friend. She is almost 30, works as a tax accountant in one of the large accounting firms. Half of the year, she is usually extremely busy, working 60-80 hours a week. During the other half, she works 9-5. She has a terrible commute like mine, about 3 hours a day.
Since she is too busy working most of the time, she is still single. She is always saying that she can never meet the right man at the right time. Well, think about it. If you work about 12 hours a day and spend another three on a train, there is really no time to meet people. Time is a real problem here.
Now about her career. There is always one common theme about those large companies - no loyalty. The time and effort employees put in usually do not equal to pay increases or promotions. There is really no such thing as a successful career when all you have is just a job to make money. Plus, what can you do with your success when you have no one to share the happiness with? The other thing to keep in mind is that everyone can be easily replaced. It is just a matter of time before the new college graduate catches on and performs your job just as good as you. Don't ever overestimate your value to your company. Profit is always the bottom line driving most companies. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of good companies out there as well, but they are hard to find.
I am always too hesitant to share the whole financial independence dream and early retirement ideas with my friend. You see, you can never stop working and have enough money in the Asian community. If you stop working in your 30s, there must be something wrong with you or you are just so horrible at your job that you have to stay home instead.
So, back to my friend's final goal of having a nice condo, with a doorman in the city. It is really worth it? The city is always much more expensive to live in. It probably makes more sense if you are making significantly more money than you would in a nearby smaller town. The good thing with my friend is that she still lives with her parents. That is smart of her since it saves her tons of money. What she has been doing with her money is another story to tell for another time.
Everyone has different goals in life. I will not force my friend to agree with me on my early retirement approach. However, her goals strengthens my brief that work is just a method of accumulating wealth for a better and more independent life.