Andy is the most average guy you will ever meet.
He grew up in a middle class family, in a HDB flat his parents were assigned to following their relocation. Youngest in the family of four, his childhood was typical and uneventful.
He was an average student, choosing to pursue a diploma in engineering because that was what average students do. He completed his diploma with average grades and little drama.
After school, he served the nation as an infantryman, like many others before and after him. He was an average soldier, completing what was asked of him, but seldom stepping up and volunteering to do more.
Here's our mistakes. Don't do the same.
We asked 14 Singapore finance bloggers to share what they would do if they could go back in time and invest their first $20,000. They can no longer rewind time, but you can learn from their experience and hopefully start with a better footing.
When he finished his national service, he found a job as a technician almost immediately. His pay was $1800. At that time, it was the average for his cohort.
At work, he started dating his colleague, this pleasant lady from HR. She was of average height and built and can be described as average looking. Andy soon fell in love with her averageness. She was everything he could possibly ask for.
They went out for two years, an average length by their friends standards, before deciding to get married. The proposal involved a ring and a question about applying for a hdb flat.
The wedding ceremony was timed to coincide with the arrival of the flat. Both of them were 28, the average rightful age for marriage. Andy and his wife led the lives of blissful newly weds for two years before the kids came in quick succession.
Like most of the people they knew, they had two kids. They grew up fast. Like their parents, they had an average childhood, performed averagely in school and grew to become average teenagers.
When they were younger, the entire family would go on a holiday once a year, which was what most of Andy’s friends do. Most of the time it would be to nearby countries like Taiwan or Thailand. Now that they are older, they no longer fancy traveling on guided tours with their parents.
In the recent years, as the kids become more independent, Andy took up playing badminton with his colleagues twice a week. Other evenings were spent catching up on Korean dramas and the occasionally visit to the neighbourhood mall.
His weekends were pretty standard as well, mornings spent in the market food center having his regular breakfast before giving the car a wash and heading to visit his parents in the evening.
After twenty years with the same company, Andy’s income has more than doubled to $4000. His wife has since taken up a similar position in another firm. She is also drawing the same amount. Their pay sits right on the National median.
Like the average Singaporean, they are still carrying a mortgage on their HDB loan. Even so, the amount in their combined cpf would have been sufficient to repay the sum fully should they choose to. Like many Of their friends, they aspire and have entertained the thought of a second property as an investment. The recent TDSR and ABSD rulings put a stop to that.
Part of their CPF monies is invested in a few unit trusts recommended by their friend and financial advisor. The market has been turbulent these past few years but after more than ten years, the funds are finally beginning to perform and Andy is thankful the profits are beginning to show. He is doing pretty average, he tells himself.
He is not so lucky with individual stocks though. While he used to own a lot more counters, he has since sold most of them for a slight profit. Most of the counters he own now are deeply in the red.
It is the same with most of his friends, so he doesn’t feel so bad. Win some, lose some he tells himself sometimes. Stocks are riskier, he justifies during other moments. At least he doesn’t need the money now so he can afford to hold and wait for them to rebound.
Retirement for Andy is so near yet so far. So near because he knows that age is catching up and he is not getting any younger. He really should be giving it some thought.
So far because deep in his heart he knows that he will continue working to 65 and beyond. It is way too expensive to retire in Singapore, he tells himself. Besides, what is he going to do with all the free time after he stops working?
Once in a while he would stop and wonder. Is he born into averageness? Or is it something he created for himself? Because the possibilities are too painful for him to ponder, he would stop after a while and go back to being Mr Average.
There is a Mr Average in each of us. Like Andy, the possibilities otherwise are often too painful to ponder.