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Day 1: Finding A Place To Live

First thing that holds people back from living or realizing their dream is to buy a home/flat/apartment that is too big or expensive to upkeep...unless that's your dream.

Yes, I like big spacious, airy and bright homes, with ample garden space, and yes owning a beautiful home is wonderful, but to me, it doesn't compare to freedom and happiness. If owning a big home means that I'm chained to the mortgaged and cannot have freedom to change jobs or do anything to change...I believe it'd make me pretty miserable.

Choosing a smaller home WILL accelerate your ability to retire earlier and shortcut your journey to the Passive Income Lifestyle.

Ok, it truly depends on you, because here when I talk about Passive Income Lifestyle, I don't talk that much about managing costs and expenses. For me, if you want to spend more extravagantly or have that option, then just build or acquire more Passive Income Machines that can help you with that.

It's just that when you're just starting out, keeping your costs low will enable you to live the Passive Income Lifestyle faster, so that maybe when you're no longer stuck at a job, you can build a higher paying business that accelerates your wealth and passive income streams.

Ok, if you really like a larger space and have decided to buy a space and decided on a location in a certain geography (cos to me, I am pretty functional: I want space that is livable, where I can work in, store stuff in, where my kids can grow up in).

Translating to reality:

  • an additional bedroom can cost you additional $300 - $500 or more per month
  • garden will set you anything from additional $300+ or more a month

This $600+ can be spent on a lot of things:

  • going on a course to build an online business or side hustle
  • spent on marketing and advertising for your business
  • spent on groceries
  • invested into dividend stocks/index funds that pays you 2-5% per annum

This is especially so if the extra bedroom or garden is non-functional, and behaves more like a "good-to-have" but not used. $600 per month x 10 years = $72000, and I hadn't even factored things like:

  • compound interest if you put it into dividend stocks
  • if you use it for a side hustle that pays you back 5-10x

How much faster would you reach your Passive Income Lifestyle if you invested this capital instead of not-utilized rooms and gardens?

As real estate costs change from time to time based on demand, and from cities/countries, there would be a range of cost. Ideally for me, a person spends less than $500 per person for rental/mortgage. So if it's just me and my wife, that's at most $1000 combined, but we pushed it a little and paid $1400 per month for our mortgage when we first bought out HDB flat in 2009.

We decided to work a little harder to save more and to pay off the flat in less than 7 years so that we can stop paying for the 2.6% interest per year, which is about $8,000 per year. Paying it off early isn't great because I should have taken the money to put into dividend stocks which paid me ~ 5% per annum, and when my interest is only 2.6% for the flat, but oh well, the peace of mind is great!

so your 1st challenge in this 21 days challenge...

...is to consider

  1. If your current living costs is optimal or the quickest way to your Passive Income Lifestyle?
  2. That what is your own idea of living arrangement later, would you buy or rent? Where?

This is the first to consider, because it's a necessity, and a large recurring expense that usually hits your income directly in a large chunk. Also, it's good to consider this first because it takes 1-6 months to find someplace else to move and live.

Or you may be locked in due to contracts or mortgages or dont have enough funds to put a deposit to live elsewhere, or maybe you're staying with family and friends.

the few core considerations when it comes to living arrangements

  1. Distance to your work
  2. Distance to your amenities/groceries
  3. Costs
  4. Variable: distance to your spouse work place and/or kids' school etc

Out of the 4 variables above, 3 are issues of location/distance, and one is on costs.

In Singapore, I'll look in online rental portals like PropertyGuru etc, and indicate for rent/mortgage (if purchasing) and say $1000-$1500 for the whole unit. As I'm married and have kids, I won't be sharing space with others (I've more restrictions and requirements), and in Singapore, we can't stay in RV.

In Singapore, I will always choose a property for rent or buying that is:

  • near to MRT, or at least, 1-2 bus stops away from main MRT lines
  • bus stop less than 5 minutes sheltered walk away
  • groceries/amenities that are near/at the MRT, if not, less than 10 minutes walk

Check and look around, don't rush. Remember if you're going through a property agent, there may be agent fees 1-2% if purchasing or 1 month rental - check the local laws/practices.

what if i'm buying?

My budget remains the same based on the monthly budget, so it's still $1000-$1500 per month for me. It doesn't change.

OK for me, I've been staying in the same government/public flat since 2009, and even if we move locations to be nearer the kids' school to cut commute time and cost, we are thinking of just renting out our home and renting another. Simply because we may not want to be locked in again to purchasing another property.

I won't rush to purchase a property because I don't really classify homes/flats/properties to be "investments" (and even if I did want to invest into properties, I'd rather invest into REITS - real estate investment trusts that pays me 5-10% return per year in Singapore, hands-free), unless you love property.

And by renting, you get to move around a little, to see different parts of the country/city or be versatile to move as you change jobs, interests or even move overseas for short, medium or long term. Unless you WANT to stay in a particular town/city/country of course, then determine how it'd impact your goal of building and achieving your Passive Income Lifestyle.

by now you'll have a bunch of potential addresses

So what you need to do now is to check the routes to work for yourself and your spouse, and routes to kids' school and amenities. I do this by using Google Map and Google Maps will give you a route by car, walking or public transport (bus or train).

We've not had a car in Singapore ever, and at most we use taxis. When I'm rushing between business meetings (then, before my sabbatical), I will almost always take taxi to save time.

I'd like to move closer to the kids schools so that we can decrease our travel time to school by at least 75% and taxi costs by half or more (we take them to school by taxi, which costs us about SGD 18 per trip).

living arrangements are personal and can be tricky

Yeah it's not easy, but as I shared earlier, because it's a necessity (we all need a roof above our heads), and it will be a recurring large chunk.

Get a space that's too big and it'd slow down your Passive Income Lifestyle journey, but there is a lot to consider. Earlier I mentioned only about distance, location and costs. You may have to consider even relocation to children's future schools etc too.

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