Learning To Be Grateful

On the 3rd April 2024, Hualien, Taiwan experienced the worst earthquake in 25 years, with a magnitude of 7.2 in Richter Scale.  It is precedented by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake that hit Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan earlier this year on 1st January 2024.  Two days later on 5th April 2024, New York City, US, experienced a rare 4.8 magnitude earthquake as well.  Besides natural disasters, there are also a couple of wars happening around the globe.  In Europe, Russia-Ukraine war had started on 24th February 2022, and it is still ongoing to date.  In the Middle East, Israel-Hamas war, which had started on 7th October 2023, is also ongoing currently.  In fact, the wars are intensifying everyday with no end in sight, and making things worse, with threats of escalation between Israel and Iran.

With so many natural disasters and wars happening around the globe now, the first thing I am very grateful for, is that I am safely living in Malaysia and Singapore where such severe natural disasters do not happen (the only natural disaster in the last 50 years that impacted northern Malaysia was in 2004, where a 9.0 magnitude Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami shook the entire Asia).  Hopefully, this region remain peaceful with no wars.  Although I often complain about the hot weather, especially these few weeks, and the sudden downpour out of nowhere, I am grateful for the peaceful livelihood I was born into.

Recently I came across this data from Visualcapitalist, which shows the global net worth of individuals in 2022:

In a table form:

As seen from the table above, if an individual has net worth of at least USD 100K, he or she would belong to the top 13.1% financially of global adults back in 2022, and forecasted to be among the top 16.3% financially of global adults financially in 2027.  Many people are complaining about the high inflation, especially the high cost of living which impacts us directly, me included.  However, it is important for us to be mindful that if you are one of the member of one of the investment or finance related Facebook groups, you are likely an individual with a net worth that classify you among the top 16% of global adults financially.  

For me personally, although my net worth currently is not high (from the Singapore perspectives), but being able to attain Singapore Permanent Residency status since 2007, being able to study in Singapore and graduated from National University of Singapore with a Bachelor (Honours) degree, being able to complete my studies without any outstanding study loans (huge gratitude and appreciation to my diligent dad who basically toiled away his whole life for his family), being able to work in Singapore to earn Singapore dollars, and able to easily retire in Malaysia in future (in terms of legality because I am a citizen), made me realize that I am very fortunate and privileged.  I am grateful to my parents who made the decision to send me to Singapore to study since young, which lead to series of events that molded me into who I am today.  I am not well off, but I am not in financial doldrums.  I am able to make frequent holiday trips, have occasional treats, and I am grateful for that.

Just in this year alone, major companies in Singapore like Lazada, Shopback, Electrolux and Propertyguru, just to name a few, has announced varying degree of retrenchment within the company.  Being a self-employed full time tutor, I am grateful that I am not affected.  Singapore is a unique country in the world where education is highly emphasized and thus tuition has its stable market in good times and in bad.  Even in 2020 when Covid struck, I am not affected greatly, as all lessons just transferred from offline to online Zoom lessons.  Personally, since the first 3 years of my working life in the engineering industry (I graduated in 2007 and I experienced the financial crisis in 2008/2009 while employed in an engineering firm), and the subsequent years of full time tutoring (from tuition center to private), I am fortunate that retrenchment never happened to me.  For that, I am very grateful.

I am grateful that I have a roof over my head to shelter me from the heat, cold or stormy rains.  I am grateful I do not have to go hungry at night.  I am grateful I have a job that allows me to earn a living, and give mum an allowance.  I am grateful that I am still abled-body and able to go anywhere and do whatever I want to.  I am grateful that I have some savings that allow me to go out of Singapore and Malaysia to travel and see the world if I want.  I am grateful I have a family that is my pillar of strength.  I am grateful I have a few close friends that share my joys and sorrows in good times and in bad.  I am grateful for all the little things that made me who I am today, and with that, I am grateful I can give back to society with the small donation I make yearly to The Straits Times Pocket Money Fund.  I am grateful I can pursue Barista FIRE.  Barista FIRE, here I come...! 


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