The rich man in my office

Today, I’m going to introduce a new person into my blog. Let me do a short introduction about him.

His name is Richmond (concealed his real name for obvious reasons) and he is 42 this year. Ever since I joined the company, he has been my cubicle mate and it would seem that he will continue to be in the same cubicle as me for the rest of my time here. He has been in my company for about 8 years. He holds a senior position. When I first joined my company, I heard from others that he is single. At that point of time, my eyes gleamed with delight as I had a potential friend who was also single that I could introduce to him! Being the typical matchmaking auntie, I decided to prompt him about it.

I’ll never forget how the conversation went.

Me: Eh Richmond, I heard that you are single.

Richmond: Yes, what’s up?

Me: Eh I got someone to introduce to you leh, you might like her. I think your personalities quite matching.

Richmond: How old is she?

Me: 35 this year ^_^

Richmond: Then what’s wrong with her?

Me: Huh, what do you mean?

Richmond: I mean, what’s wrong with her? Why so old but haven’t get married yet?

Me: Diao!!!!!!!!!!

Richmond: Usually girls get married young mah. I’m just speculating. I’m happy being single lah. 🙂

Me: Lol okay. (Officially speechless.)

Ever since then, I’ve never asked him about his love life again. Haha. As time went by, I slowly understood why he chose to stay single, and also why he does not have a girlfriend.

Anyway, we became very good cubicle companions and had to work together a couple of times too.

He may seem like a normal guy when I described him in the above paragraphs. He may even resemble someone whom you know personally. But to me, he is the rich man in my office. Maybe not the richest, but definitely rich.

Now, you might be thinking, “Okay, 42-year-old senior engineer. Probably a decent pay at least of S$6000+ per month. Single, so must be can save a lot of money lor! Since no wife and no kids. Probably drives lah, every month can afford and some more got left over money. Might be living alone. Maybe got his own property also?”

Single therefore can save a lot of money – Yes.

Decent pay of at least S$6000 – Yes, I am predicting he draws this amount of salary at least.

Drives? – No, he lives near the office, so he bought his best investment yet. A bicycle that costs S$100+.

Got his own property? – No, he holds a PR in Singapore, so every month he is paying rental of about S$500~S$700 for a room.

So why do I say that a 42-year-old who is earning roughly S$6000 per month rich?

The reason behind it is not because I know how much he has in his bank account. It is because he displays a certain behaviour that rich people have. And that is the concept of frugality.

Let me explain further.

Richmond has a very predictable daily routine. In the morning, he rides his bicycle to work. He doesn’t eat breakfast everyday, but if he does, he makes a cup of Milo from the super big refillable pack that he buys when he returns from his occasional trips to his home town. During lunch, he eats in the canteen of our office which a normal plate of cai png costs around S$1.50 to S$3.50, depending on whether he orders a meat dish or not. For dinner, he tabao another packet of cai png which costs similarly to his lunch.

I don’t really know what he does on the weekends, but I’m sure he doesn’t really spend much either. He doesn’t frequent movie theatres, malls and loves buffets (if there is no time limit). He doesn’t drink bubble tea, and does not have snacks on his table. He doesn’t smoke. He exercises at the office gym occassionally. In his recent health screening, his results were even better than mine!

He rarely buys new apparels. In fact, the clothes he wears are not in the best condition. Some of his shirts have holes, and the leather on his shoes has already peeled off. Despite that, he still looks decently presentable enough for work. So nobody actually complains about it except for me and a few other closer colleagues.

If you do a rough calculation for his daily expenses, they seldom exceed $10 per day!

Recently after I started thinking about retirement, I decided to emulate some of his habits. I kept my food expenses low – I spent at most $5 per meal. I stopped buying drinks. I stopped buying snacks. I stopped shopping online. I stopped going out with friends that often, especially if we had to dine at anything that exceeded my $5 budget.

At the end of the first month, I saved an additional $300 (I was socializing A LOT). That’s ain’t spectacular, but in a year, that amounts to $3600. That’s more than enough for me to cover my annual insurance premiums AND go for a short holiday. :O!

Now, I am not saying that I can live the same lifestyle as him.  I can’t. I can’t help giving in to my temptation for bubble tea at times. But the point that I am trying to make here is that you can make small changes in your lifestyle for a better retirement. And being frugal helps. I didn’t even find it too difficult at all. It was just a small additional conscious effort on my part.

It gets deeper than that. I realized that many of those things were material and I didn’t need them to feel happy. I was feeling contented even without all the shopping/dining. I know that every step I am taking now is another step towards my financial freedom. And that mattered more to me.

To me, Richmond is rich because he minimalizes his lifestyle and allows his wealth to accumulate even more over time.

If you don’t believe in Richmond, believe in Warren Buffett instead.

That being said, the numbers still do matter. At a (young) age of 42, Richmond has just hit the Full Retirement Sum in his Special Account. Congratulations, Richmond! *throws confetti* I’ll cover this topic in another blog post to see how I (or you!) can achieve the same.

Do you know a Richmond in your life?

Thanks for reading!

Miss Niao xoxo

Author: Miss Niao

Hello! I blog about financial matters and things that average people can do to have a better retirement. I want to inspire people to take control of their money and have a better understanding about it. If you are interested to know more, follow me @! :)

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