The Singapore Dream. The 5Cs. Cash, Career, Condominium, Car and Credit Cards. Many of us are chasing this dream. We have all been played out. We have been made to chase a dream that will never materialize. Especially here in Singapore. For many

years we were made to believe that we can make it big here. Over promises and unrealistic benchmarks. What is this trap that we have fallen into?

Did you know? In the 1970s, at HDB Marine Parade Estate, prices of 3-room, 4-room and 5-room new flats were $17,000, $20,000 and $35,000 respectively. In 1990, 5-room new flats cost around $70,000. Today in Marine parade, based on recent transactions, a 3I flat was sold for $402,000 and a 4I flat was sold for a staggering $585,000. Typically this increase in price over the years is spread all across the board. Well many may say that property prices have to go up eventually and I totally agree with the mass. However do take note that standard of living has indeed increased over the years but when compared to our neighboring countries, our quality of living has dropped drastically. We work longer hours. Live in an environment engulfed in stress and everything here is all about the money. This is just the tip of the ice berg.

So why is it that we still have to pay so much for public housing? When I graduated from poly in 2003, my diploma certificate would easily earn me a minimum salary ranging from about $1.8k right up to about $2.2k per month. After 12 years, a fresh diploma grad will make around $2.2k to about $2.4k. The numbers are shocking but real. Cost of living has sky rocketed but earning capacity still remains. This may seem illogical to the common man. After much thought I realized that it does make sense. It makes sense to only a group of people who want to benefit from the people. We all have to understand that Singapore has no natural resources except for human resource. If im going to keep the people here to continue working I will need to formulate a plan. A plan that will keep them running for money. Well if everything was fully paid for, all of us would be comfortable at where we are. How in the world is our government going to make money.

This country is run like a business. The only way I can keep people working and generating revenue is to constantly keep them in debt. Maintain income but inflate all cost of living. Create the market to artificially raise prices. So instead of taxing on things that are cheap, I can now earn higher taxes because the cost price of the item has gone up and I convince people I’m not raising the tax percentage but I get the prices of goods and services to go up. Smart right. If you analyse the 5Cs in Singapore, they all lead to liabilities in one way or another.

If your cash savings cannot earn an interest decent enough to curb inflation, then you are deflating your currency. In other words your money is depreciating yearly. Can money really depreciate?? Yes! It can. Every year there is inflation. That is the rate at which cost of living goes up. So if inflation is at 5% and you dump your money in a fixed deposit earning you an interest of about 1.6%, you are actually losing money. All of us have been brought up to think that saving money in the banks is the best way to accumulate wealth then I’m sorry to break the bad news to you.

You see, banks actually borrow money from you and pay you peanuts in interest but they charge exorbitant interest rates to their borrower. One example is credit cards. Many people go through a financial roller coaster by owning credit cards. Almost comparable to loan sharks but more subtle in their approach of collecting it back from you. Banks like other financial institutions leverage off people. The people who are unsuspecting to invest in their products. This is how the banks make money. The same goes to your CPF savings. The system has already been built in such a manner that you will never reach financial freedom. If that happens then Singapore will collapse. We don’t even need to go to war for that to happen. Am I already crushing your hopes? Wait there is still more to come.

We are all embedded into a system that makes us run, run and run all day long. Some have been running for many years and some just got onto the bandwagon. Imagine you strike a shot at goal and the goal post moves. You try shooting again and the same thing happens. Again and again. That’s how many see living in Singapore as. It will remain this way until you break away from this system. You can’t be living your life earning, just to pay taxes, and loans and live a life filled with debts. Stop leveraging on the banks. They also make money from you. Don’t depend on the government for handouts. They are looking at ways to monetize from you instead. When someone loses money, someone gains.

National service is a good way to retain human resource. 2 years of service and an additional 10 years of commitment. A good plan for human retention. I am still not convinced that we are ready to defend Singapore in times of war. We can’t even fight to defend ourselves from the haze. What good are weapons, fighter planes, tankers and naval forces? We spend billions of dollars on tax payer’s money to fund all of these. When all our enemies have to do is to engage in nuclear warfare and emit toxic gases into neighboring airspace and that will be it. We will all be dead. You can go and throw your N95 mask into the dustbin. So if that’s the case then why do we still have to have all these in place? Whenever someone spends money, someone else earns it. National Service is a good way to retain manpower and to get citizens to stay committed to stay and work here. Suppress them further with low national service pay and hold your progress back by 2 years. If national service was not compulsory everyone would fly abroad, they will never return back after seeing better opportunities and they will never see Singapore the same way again.

Re plan how you live here. Don’t fall for this trap. In order for you reach your goals to financial success you have to look out of Singapore. The only place where money is in abundance is on the Internet. Don’t fight and compete among yourselves for business locally. Look beyond the borders. Most of the richest people in the world don’t live in Singapore neither are they born here. Think about it. Our thought process has to evolve if we want a change. Look out for investment opportunities that give decent returns. If anything sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Stay away from Ponzi schemes they are just created to fool you into believing that you will attain financial freedom. It’s just another gimmick that just leverages of people’s greed to market their product or service at low advertising costs. Don’t trust the banks they are not your friends. Don’t buy brick walls and wooden doors that cost millions instead you can look at renting and investing the rest. Most homes here are sold with a 99 year lease. So technically you do not own the property. Look at Singapore as a place to work. Not to relax and build a family. It’s just work, work and more work. If you want a free and easy life go migrate. Don’t stay here. Buy a landed freehold house that costs $200,000. Pay it in full. Buy a car, pay it in full. Start a family and send your kids right up to uni and pay it in full. You don’t need banks for loans. Be independent and be debt free. We are not born to just pay bills and die.

by K.D Rooban