The Fallacy of “How to be Rich” (Part 1)

My personal view of “how
to become rich” has evolved over the years as I gone through several ups and
downs in my life. Even the meaning of “rich” took a change within me. Today, it
is not just money that matters. 

In the following, you
will read about my views before and now.
Be academically sound
As a boy, I was told
that as long as you get a good degree in Singapore, you can be rich. Even
better, be a scholar (overseas one) and work in the civil service, your career
will fly! My belief was strong then, because my family was poor stemming from
the fact that my parents were not well-educated. Both were only primary school levels.
This is despite I always think my dad is one of the smartest guy around in
terms of IQ. 
Rolf’s view today
Yes, I did get my degree
today, but it definitely did not make me rich. Education lays the foundation for
learning and that is without a shadow of doubt! Yet, I also witnessed many
so-called academically sound people who are NOT really doing so well in their
careers or lives today, compared to when they were at schools. In essence, what
we need most in today’s society is really to be able to be creative and think out of the box. By far, this is lacking in our
current education system.
In my opinion, exposures,
not just for our kids but also the teachers outside Singapore are of grave
importance. After all, we started a nation with people from outside Singapore
and are almost entirely dependent on the rest of the world today. To be well
sheltered by our government will only do us good for the short term. In the
longer term, problems may arise.
Today, most educators
(not all) are still very academic focus. We want good results out of a student
rather than getting the real potential out of a student. Lest not forget, parents
are the main culprit since we are still having the mindset that academically
savvy equals success in life.
So many times, I hear
Singaporeans coming out top in international quizzes or examinations. Or at
least in a competitive environment where we were subjected to with rules and boundaries,
we always did fabulous! Rarely, I hear Singaporeans did well in the international
arena when it is free play or creativity or when it is entrepreneurships.
Be a businessman or top
As a teenager, I was
working part time in my brother-in-law start-up business. He told me that the
only way to be wealthy is to be your own boss. And for that to happen, first
you ought to be a really good salesman. 
Rolf’s view today
Ok, I had seen and hear
my fair share of people who were business or sales people becoming wealthy. While
there are lots of truths in this, not all wealthy people know how to discern
between work and family/personal life. So eventually the definition of rich has
to be right! Furthermore it is not so easy being self-employed or in sales
because the stresses are normally much bigger. I also know people who tried
being a businessman or salesman even though their characters are not quite
suitable. Eventually they are not very successful. And after discovering that
their income is lesser as a self-employed, they went back to be an employee
again. Henceforth, we need to truly understand ourselves before we jump
into our so-called passion/aspiration sometimes.
Work in the banking and
finance sectors
As I stepped into the
working society, I had peers who were in banking and finance sectors doing
really well and income rising quickly. On the contrary I slogged in the
engineering sector doing real tough and at times dangerous work on-board
offshore vessels/rigs. Yet, my salary is nothing to shout about. I transited to
sales later and I admitted that I was better rewarded money wise. Back then, I
was pretty convinced that working in the banking and finance sector is the only
way to be rich. Nonetheless I did not regret and if given a chance to turn back
the clock, I will still choose to start my career in engineering. For I know I am
more suited to start as an engineer. I am sure I made the right choice.
Rolf’s view today
Before the GFC, it is a
no-brainer to work in banking/finance sectors if you want to be rich! Well,
today it still hold, although remunerations were significantly lower, albeit
still higher than most other industries. The reasons why the banking sectors
are flushed with money can be astonishing if you understand how the world
monetary system of today works. It is a long topic and I will touch only
briefly here. Today I firmly believe that the current world monetary system is flawed
and in fact fraudulent. This is because since 1971, central banks in the world
created currency out of thin air and via fractional reserve system, the banking
system encouraged people/businesses to borrow future money even if they could
not afford to pay back. Who cares, since it is future money as long as banks
earn interest? And this is how wealth is transferred from the middle class to
the hands of the central and commercial bankers who created currency out of
nothing. Will the current world monetary system sustain forever?  
Step and carry your way
up in corporate sector or civil service
Working in the corporate
sector or civil service, I often hear you need great skills of “carrying”
(hokkien: po) your bosses or “stepping” the shoulders of your colleague/
subordinates in order to climb the corporate ladder to earn big promotion and
salary increment.
Rolf’s view today
True, but not always the
case because there are indeed truly many successful people who rose in the
corporate life. That said, they because they are subjected to the rules of the
corporate game, they have to be good in politics as well. Managing politics is an
art and it is considered to be a very important factor for success. As a
result, it is less possible that you can be one hundred percent yourself and
yet be very outstanding in corporate career. Sometimes you only need to be
politically correct to climb.
Marry the wealthy
Then there were people,
who said, just marry a rich wife or husband. It does not matter if you are
henpecked or if your husband treats you no good.  
Rolf’s view today
Married for love and
suitability and not for other reasons. Else, you will never be happy and never
be “rich”!
Pray to be rich or
strike lottery
Some like to pray hard
that their next life will be born into silver spoon, or pray to be lucky so that
they can strike lottery.
Rolf’s view today
Many of my peers who
were born with a silver spoon often have their lives or wealth entirely
dictated by their parents. No freedom! As for striking lottery, we also know
that without money management technique, wealth is not sustainable even if you
strike lottery. 
To be continued…
In Part 2, I will
discuss the “Fallacy of How to be Rich from investment?” as well as the “Single
greatest truth to becoming rich”.

Stay tuned. 

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11 thoughts on “The Fallacy of “How to be Rich” (Part 1)

  1. For degree, stop referring/comparing to our parents or my generations; these folks have less opportunities and parental support to pursue degrees. For current generation of young folks, parental and government support to pursue degree are definitely not out of reach i.e. no lack of opportunity to pursue higher qualification for academy excellence and achievement.

    1. Hi CW,

      We are aligned.

      That is why I mentioned that is my belief as a boy and that was in the 80s which pretty much degree is almost out of reach for the majority. Times really change!

      Today and the future generation ahead is definitely more than just the paper qualifications.

  2. money enough eat can liao. no need a lot. of course with more money in pocket, then you can worry less.

    btw, still holding comfort delgro or sold?
    bleeding recently.

    1. Hi Yeh,

      First n foremost hope u r doing well.

      Ur first sentence is a bit contradicting.. a bit emotional!

      I m gg to be a bit direct but it is meant to help n not criticize. Hope u dun mind!

      If money enough can liao, I think u should never get into investment in the first place. With ur portfolio a fixed deposit or bond can suit u better and possibly ur emotion need not go thru the up and down with the market.

      As I mentioned in my earlier posts, sickness n longevity is a function of our emotion especially in the stock market. Not everyone can stomach the fact to see tens or hundreds of thousands wiped off! Even on the lips we say no problem n not impt, but deep down many still feel painful. If not painful, it can also translate to worry n illness even without u knowing sometimes.

      Reality bites n hurts, but sometimes I really hate to say that all the vibes about all the pple saying how much u can get rich in the stock market can be a fallacy to the majority.

      I sold off Comfort Delgro last year! Perhaps it's better for me to be in more cash now as I m gg thru a very tough time in the industry now. I reckon, we should even stop dreaming about how much money we r gg to make in the market in the next few tough yrs.

      But without learning investment n widen my perspectives and learn to b prudent n control my temperament, I will long ago in hospital considering it is so bad in career now for me and all the pple in my industry.

      I hope with all the shower of love, u can live healthy. Less stock market, more healthy.


    2. Agreed with Rolf. In fact, when I started to probe around those colleagues around me; there are quite a number of them still prefer more saving in FDs while keep their living expenses low. They see no point in investing and having to ride the emotional roller coaster in the stock market and that may affect their well being.

    3. well,previously i save and invest. is hope one day if i very sick.
      i can have money to do kidney transplant or dialysis if one day i very sick then cant work.

      now, i decided not to do any kidney transplant. i will stick to dialysis.
      and i still hope to work. to keep my mentality healthy.

      and live as per normal.

      so those money to me.i dunno. still got meaning or not.

    4. Hi Yeh,

      The last time I gg to be a bit harsh here.

      I understand wat u mean, but as a contrarian I do not pity u! I hope u know wat I mean, I dun pity u bcos I treat u as a normal n pretty healthy lady. It's actually a form of respect deep down!

      I m sorry for wat happen but we should never be sorry for ourself. I know there is no comparison to u in terms severity, but just to share:

      "I rem when I was sick at bed almost died, I only think about when will I recover n when I recover I m gg to eat the good food, go the good place, overcome my illness n live happy life stronger." You may say it's different, ur illness is more severe, but I think mine at that time was no better.

      Uncle CW was no better either! My mil also have cancer n she recovered! My very good frd loss his leg after graduation n his now married with 2 kids. The same trait I found is hope n positivity!!!

      "If discouraging words such as no meaning or what's the use of doing this n that" keep placed on ur lips, I m sure nothing will improve, and bcos if I never hope or want anything and think that most things are meaningless, indeed my life will be meaningless."

      I tell myself the last thing I want is to pity myself at that time that never to think how come such thing happen to me at a young age and I have been suffering for so many years while all my Frds are healthy.

      I think money is still IMPT bcos in today's world we need money for lots of things. But many at times for many pple, bcos of money (eg worry n overly covet), our lives can be worsen without us knowing.

      Bcos of illness, u prepare, save n invest is good! But bcos u invest, leading to worry n worsening of the condition (subconsciously), then it is no good.

      I empathize ur situation, but base on my own experience, I reckon only u can help urself in ur illness not even the doctor or the person closest to u! Keep the hopes alive.

      I prefer not to hope for u in ur sickness, but I hope u can still carry the hopes of recovery!

      Stay strong!

    5. it is not one year or two years thing. you know over these 23 years, how long i in and out hospital? you know the longest day i admitted hospital is how long? it is 2 month times! well, you thought i no work hard for my health meh.
      you dun even know how hard i work for my life.
      i used to work and give tuition, even weekend i also go to give tuition. i just hope can earn and save more money for myself or even for family.

      then the end what i get, i cant get what i want for my life. no child, then dialysis. maybe just slowly slowly wait for die.

      Jan til now, my condition doesn really improve, it is getting worsen. everyday just feel unwell, eat liao then also feel like to vomit. Yesterday i just had fever then i also afraid to go hospital as i scare later i went then have to admitted ward again.

      everyday just have to check blood pressure and temperature and take at least 15 pill.

      you wont understand the feeling at all.

      i am not going to give up. i am just do not wish to work hard either in my work or anything. i just lets god decide everything.

      i admit sometime i do want to give up. but everytime i also just let doctor do any procedure/treatment . i bear with all the uncomfort and pain. then all these not my hard work.

      i just wish to live like a normal person. but also seem hard.

      while i was a 11 years old child, i so scared to be alone at hospital. but i didn tell my mum as i did not want her to worry for me. while i was 15 years old, i learnt to be independent, visited doctor alone without parents worry. even after treatment, i feel dizzy or unwell. i also just took bus back home instead taxi as i wanted to save more money.
      all these while, i work, save and invest. 还不够努力吗?

      i am just too tired of my life. serious. i dunno how long it's going to continue like this.

    6. Yeh,

      I m sorry. But it will be easier to explain over face than here, as body language is lacking n difficult for u to feel what I really meant! Perhaps u also misunderstood my true message.

      Anyway, all I can say is May God bless u!

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