This post is inspired by a conversation I had with my level-headed bestie, when we talked about how people our age are getting into huge debts.
Do a quick survey around and it’s not hard to get responses from people complaining about how cost of living is just too high for us to cope with. And then this video went viral: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152546271230345
While I’m not saying that we are enjoying high salaries (I mean, seriously, would anyone ever say they think they’re overpaid for their jobs?), I think a lot of these money woes are brought upon us by our sense of self-entitlement. By this, I mean, a lot of us think we have the “right” to enjoy life because we “work so hard”, and that a lot of luxuries that we enjoy now are basic “needs”, that many people of the same age in, perhaps, a different country, may see as huge indulgences.
Before you say cost of living is too high and that you’re poor because of it, ask yourself:
- How often do you put out your hand to hail a cab because you’re too “tired” to take the MRT?
- Count the number of brunches you’ve gone for at hipster cafes (you can probably keep track by the number of Instagram pictures of Eggs Benedict and coffee you’ve posted)
- Or the “designers’ coffee (from Starbucks and the likes) do you buy in a week?
- How many trips (be it long-haul or just an island getaway) have you gone for this year? How many have you planned for next year?
- Add in the staycations you’ve gone for or are looking forward to too
- Look into your stash of bags… how many cost more than $100?
- Do you insist on “at least” a 4-room flat because anything else is “too small”?
- Is it necessary to hold your wedding at a hotel? Do you really have to go overseas for your photography? Do you know that if you just want to be “married”, you actually only need to pay a small admin fee at ROM to get officially hitched?
- How many boxes arrive at your house per month from online shopping?
- How many phones have you changed in the last 5 years?
- Do realise people in the past didn’t need a phone, tablet and laptop to stay “connected”?
My point is, the main factor that’s making us poor isn’t cost of living. It’s just that we are so used to luxuries that we can’t give them up. We see them as “needs” instead of “wants”. We’ve fed our lifestyle with so much that it’s got a hefty appetite now and it seems “impossible” to scale back.
Unfortunately, we’re not capable enough to make sufficient money to sustain this lifestyle, and this is how we get into debts. We’re wearing hats that are too huge for our heads.
I blame such behaviour partly on social media. Browse through Facebook or Instagram and it’s not hard to find yourself envying the lifestyles of your peers who seem to “have it all”. Those that always deck out in something new in their OOTD, who bought yet another expensive bag, who is always having a whale of a time in her/his getaway, stay in the most gorgeous pad, held the most interesting wedding…
And then we think to ourselves, hey, why is it that he/she can do it while I can’t? I deserve to enjoy these too! Why should I be like my parents, who slog and don’t get to enjoy life?! What’s the point of working if I can’t go for trips and eat expensive breads and coffees?
In the end, all of us struggle behind these facades we gingerly put up.