Tuesday, July 04, 2017

We all have our own poison

What's your poison?

Everyone has one. For some, it could be expensive branded watches. For others, it could be handbags with Italian names on it. But a poison need not be expensive things too. It could be something that is 'costly' to your free time, like painting or doing models of tanks etc. It's just something you would willingly go to in your free time.

For those who fuel their poison by spending a disproportionate amount of their salary into it, who are we to say that they are shallow and materialistic? They are not spending our money and they certainly not seeking our permission for it. However, I think as part of the bigger financial bloggers group, we tend to disapprove of such wanton spending. You must save a portion of your salary. Oh, you must separate between needs and wants clearly.

But there is another extreme, someone on the opposite side of the fence. Someone who knows only needs and do nothing to satisfy his wants. It's all the future that matters, and all the spending follows strictly according to plans in order to hit this milestone by that age. Maybe for these people, their poison is an insidious one - to be proud of their own frugality by thumbing down on others. It's something that I hate very much whenever people are talking about hitting x amount by y age. They treat savings like a sports, where everyone is competing with each other by subtle hints of how much they can withstand hardship and control their wants. What's the reward? Boasting rights.

I see financial independence as a more holistic ideal though, not just the cold hard math. To really reach financial independence, you must be free of money. Usually people take it to mean that they have all the money they need for their expenses without having to work ever again. But I think being free of money means we no longer treat money as a symbol to accumulate, to show off, or to satisfy some inner psychological needs, but to see it as a means to exchange it for something that serves a greater good. In that sense, a millionaire who holds his money so tightly is as equally shackled as a indebted man who spends all his money on material goods. Both are still controlled by money, but each is satisfied by different aspects of money, with the former treating money as a security blanket and the latter treating it as a power and status symbol.

Some people are so poor they only have money.

But let's get back to our poison. I used to spend quite a lot of money buying guitars and amps. I'm not that good enough to justify those purchases, so I inherently know it is wrong. After dabbling with it so some years, I hardly touch them now and they are all lying in cabinets and shelf, acting as re-purposed dust collector. Oh, before that, there was a gaming phase where I spend a lot of money buying sega games. Back then, I thought that if only I could have more money, I could spend the whole day gaming away without a care in the world. Little do I know that years later, when I have the means to fund my gaming adventures, living vicariously as an elf or a wizard blasting away at demons that threatened to destroy the world, I no longer have the time to play. How many years of my life had been spent chasing digital gold coins and collecting unique, digital swords, staves and shields?

While I don't regret the time and money spent on such poisons (oh, they are such joy), one must wonder what is it that I do love so much currently that will inevitably walk down the same path as my old sega games and my dust collecting guitars?

Do I want to continue doing it now, knowing that my passion for it might run out in the future? Or should I abandon it and embrace minimalism? Could minimalism be, by itself, a re-purposed dust collector in the near future?

That is a thought worth thinking about. Perhaps, like all medicines, the dosage makes the poison.


Singapore Man of Leisure said...


You noticed it too ;)

It makes me remember my NS recruit days, "Who died and made you Indian Chief?"

Thank goodness financial bloggers are a minority commuity! Imagine the amount of "bullying" and "peer pressure" we will impose on the innocents like some Lifestyle bloggers?

"If you want to be popular and join the with "it" crowd, better follow me! Or else..."

A person is indeed poor if all he has to show is money...

Since no one gives financial advice to people who earns more than themselves, if someone gives me unsolicited financial "advice"...

Idiot! I've just been patronised!


la papillion said...


I've actually got a real life example of a person with not much money but is rich nevertheless. My mum! She is not by definition a millionaire, but she goes to the market and get this and that for free. During festive seasons, she gets mooncakes, dumplings and hampers. During birthdays, people come to give her ang bao. She uses her money to pass it around too. From her, I understand that with good relationship, you don't even need money. Money is for those without the connections.

Powerful lessons to learn.

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


Your mom is a good role model ;)

If we are balanced, happy, and contented, people will be drawn to us :)

Sillyinvestor said...


When I read your title, the first thing that come to my mind is

"We all have our poison, some are more toxic"

True!! But those frugality competition is another poison just like u and mine, so no problem, just dun impose ok others can le. There is another poison ...

Verbal whining ... lol

la papillion said...

Hi SI,

It's true, sometimes when you force people to eat your own poison, that's damn venomous...can die one! LOL

simplefolk said...

i am one who is still searching for my passion in life
and i do by searching & trying new "poison"
i don't know if ever find my passion
perhaps my passion is to tryout new "poison"? :P
小毒怡情 ... i guess "poison" is fine in small doses :D

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We "create" meaning for our life.


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