Client Case Study: Pursuing A Work Optional Life

Kyith Ng

Eliza and Noah are not really big on the idea of retirement.

It is not that they find retirement repulsive, but because they have always found their respective career interesting and challenging.

Eliza feels fulfilled and respected working as a physician in a government hospital. Noah started out in engineering, but an opportunity came along such that he can pivot to a more sales-oriented role in the tech domain.

They have done a lot of things right financially:

  • Eliza earns a high 6-figure income. Noah’s income is more volatile but for the past few years, it averages at a low 6-figure
  • They bought their house early and are only left with 30% on their mortgage
  • Both top up their CPF Special Account and contribute to their Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS)
  • They have purchased some protection insurance and savings insurance for their family of 4
  • Due to the nature of Noah’s job, he has always tried to put away money that he does not spend into savings and some investments. Eliza’s parents have been slowly imparting money knowledge to her since young. As a couple, they have been quite diligent in setting aside adequate savings

So, what is the problem?

Their views on their career and life have somewhat shifted after working for the past 15 years.

They observed that some of their friends, who were in senior management, thought that they would always have a very secure job. They are good at what they do and worked hard. But their industry got disrupted and what was a stable domain became not so stable anymore.

While Eliza is still satisfied in her job, years of working with a certain segment of patients made her wonder if she could contribute more for them outside of the confines of the hospital.

At this point, they wonder if they are financially secured at all?

They might not want to quit their job, but they both felt that if they do not need to work as their life depends on it, life might become better.

Could they transit away from their current high-paying jobs if they wish to?

They admit… they do not know what they do not know.

Eliza and Noah felt that they might need an expert’s help to figure out:

  1. How are they doing financially?
  2. What are the strategic financial decisions they need to make with their money so that they can be more financially independent?

How Life Planning Can Provide Clarity to Their Life in the Future

At Providend, our advisers have become financial companions with couples like Eliza and Noah over our past 20-year history as a fee-only wealth advisory firm.

More and more individuals and couples have been confronting their relationship with their work and wonder if that relationship could be changed.

They are also confronting their anxiety on whether they have done enough financially so that work is optional for them.

While we cannot guarantee that Eliza and Noah can be financially independent enough so that they can choose to work or not work or choose to make bold career moves, we can help make sense of their current resources and their current cash flow.

We usually approach a situation like Eliza and Noah’s with a blank piece of canvas so that we can sketch out the important things to them:

  1. What are the values that they identify with?
  2. What are their top accomplishments and their professional goals?
  3. If they do not have to work anymore, what would they do?
  4. Is there anything that they wish to do for the world at large?
  5. Work out a plan to see if they can reach a stage where work is optional for them

The most important thing is that life can give both good and/or poor outcomes.

A financial plan is not to set and forget.

What will be most vital for Eliza and Noah is to have someone to be on this journey with them:

  1. A better market sequence may mean that they make work optional sooner. It would be very helpful to have someone who knows their financial and life situation to check with.
  2. It may take some time for them to define the second half of their life. If one of them finds their calling for the second half of their life, could one-half take the plunge earlier than the other? How would their financials look like?

At Providend, we take time to work with you, our client, to plan this out.

The process takes time because we are trying to create a sound financial setup so that you can live the life you want.

This is an original article written by Kyith Ng, Senior Solutions Specialist at Providend, Singapore’s Fee-only Wealth Advisory Firm.

We do not charge a fee at the first consultation meeting. If you would like an honest second opinion on your current investment portfolio, financial and/or retirement plan, make an appointment with us today.

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