First Steps to Early Retirement: Will taking a MBA help you retire earlier?

Hi, Everyone! Mr. Minion here.

Today’s topic will be focused on the value of a Master Degree in Business Administration (“MBA”). This is a topic that is very close to my heart as I have always envisioned myself taking an MBA and working overseas thereafter.

As we all know, an MBA has the potential to help you change career paths, increase your income and make connections.

But does taking an MBA help you move towards your goal of early retirement?

Before moving into the analysis, let me state a few reasonable assumptions first:

  1. You are paying for your MBA school fees by yourself
  2. You have just graduated from college with a basic salary of $48,000* per annum (before CPF) and a yearly bonus of 2 months making a total of $56,000 per annum.
  3. You get 3% salary increment per year.
  4. You leave your first job/get promoted after 3 years and job hops/get promoted every 4 years thereafter at 25% pay increment per time.
  5. You are only interested in entering the top business schools.
  6. You want to retire at 45-50 years old with $2 Million SGD.
  7. You will only work in Singapore

*Figures are an estimation based on the recent 2016 GES Survey.

In order to conduct our analysis, we will assume that there are 2 completely similar individuals, one who chooses to take an MBA (Individual 1) and one who chooses not to (Individual 2).

In order to make this analysis easier to understand, we can classify both individual’s journey to early retirement into 3 different categories: Pre-MBA, During MBA and After MBA

Pre MBA:

Individual 1: He needs to save for his MBA education (MBA Tuition + Others: $200,000 USD = approx. $275,000). He has a low-risk profile and chooses to save in fixed deposits. This cost of an MBA is taken from Harvard Business School’s Website.Individual 1 Pre

Individual 2: Do not need to save for MBA. He has a moderate to high-risk profile.Individual 2 Pre

During MBA:

Individual 1: No Income as he is still studying

Individual 2: Continues earning income and building wealth

Individual 2 while

Post MBA:

Individual 1: Starts building wealth from scratch but with a much higher income. (Starting pay for MBA holders is calculated by taking the average weighted salary of the top 10 business schools as per ranked by Financial times)

Source:http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/global-mba-ranking-2017?mhq5j=e3

Individual 1 after

Individual 2: Continues building wealth

Individual 2 after

From this analysis, you can see that individual 2, who chose not to take up an MBA retires after 20 years of work while individual 1, who chose to take up an MBA retires after 22 years of work. From this simple analysis, we can conclude that taking up an MBA does not help us move faster towards our goal of early retirement.

However, from this analysis we can see that an MBA is beneficial to us should we choose to retire with  > $2 Million SGD. Individual accumulates wealth at a much faster rate than individual 2.

Do bear in mind that the analysis conducted is a simple one and does not take into account all the possible scenarios. For example, individual 1 (with MBA) could take a longer than usual time to find a job, there could be a cap of maximum annual salary, an individual with MBA might get larger pay increments etc. Therefore, please take this analysis with a pinch of salt.

Till next time!

First Steps to Early Retirement: Managing your finances like a listed company

Hi, Everyone! Mr. Minion here.

What is one difference between a listed company and an individual that is relevant to the topic of early retirement?

To me, it’s the level of accountability.

As a listed company, you are accountable to your shareholders while as an individual, you are only accountable to yourself (and maybe your family).

So what does that mean? In summary, it means that as an individual, you can choose to make decisions that are less than beneficial to your finances because you don’t have to explain your actions to anyone. You don’t get audited, you don’t get grilled by 1000 people in a hotel ballroom. The greatest extent of what you will have to do is to explain your decision to your family, who in most cases will just let it go, well because, it’s your family.

This will wreak havoc on your finances and affect your goal of early retirement. We can illustrate these negative effects by using the three financial statement (P&L, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement) which are common measures of financial health for both individuals and companies.

In this case, I will only focus on the P&L Statement and the main line items used are total revenue & total expenses. This is because Revenue-Expenses=Profit is the foundation to building your net worth (balance sheet).

Revenue

As an individual, you are free to work as hard as you want because, as mentioned above, you are only accountable to yourself. This will have a disastrous impact on your top line for both self-employed and salaried workers.

For Self-Employed workers, you can choose to not work for the day because, well, you feel that “You deserve some rest”. This will have an immediate impact on your top line for obvious reasons.

For salaried workers, this effect may be less obvious. You may choose to take it easy for a day or miss that dinner outing with your colleagues/clients. This will have a not-so-obvious but very real impact on your future income. That dinner could have gotten you closer to your colleagues and your boss which could have gotten you that promotion. That day that you took it easy? The piece of work that you postponed till tomorrow to finish? Your boss wanted to go through it that night.

As a listed company, you are accountable to your shareholders. Therefore, you need to maximize revenue. A self-employed worker who runs his finances like a listed company will choose to work that extra day because he doesn’t want 1000 shareholders screaming in his face asking him why he took a day off work and threatening to replace him. The same goes for the salaried worker. Both of them will make the decision that maximizes their revenue.

Expenses

As an individual, you can choose to purchase that still-expensive-but-cheaper-than-usual-because-there-is-a-sale dress which you will only wear once in a year. You can choose to get that high-end gaming laptop because it is cool with extra functions that you don’t really need. Why? Because of the lack of accountability issue as mentioned above. This will push up your expenses, thereby reducing your bottom line.

As a listed company, you are accountable to your shareholders. The only expenses incurred are for items that are needed and justifiable. Period.

As you can see, the examples given above are with reference to individuals. The logic is applicable for families as well. Just treat a family as a listed company with multiple business lines.

It might be obvious but I still want to state it: The inherent assumption here is that when we refer to listed companies, we are referring to honest listed companies, not fraudulent ones.

There you have it – an explanation on why is it more beneficial for families/individuals to run their finances like a listed company.

In this spirit, Mr. and Mrs. Minion officially declares “Minions Inc.” open for business!

It is important to note that while you are running your finances like a listed company, this does not mean that you have to give up that holiday to Japan that you were dreaming. As we all know, companies have annual retreats and D&D for their employees. Just make sure your spending is within limits and accountable to your invisible shareholders and you’ll be fine.

Till next time! Let us know if you have any comments.

 

Money Saving Tips 101: Renewing your Singtel/Starhub/M1 Contract? This is how you can profit from it.

Hi, Everyone!

Mr. Minion here. Hope all of you are having a wonderful weekend.

Let me start off this blog’s first ever “Money Saving Tips 101” post with a tip on how you can potentially profit from renewing your Singtel/Starhub/M1 Contract.

The trick is to BUY AN IPHONE when renewing your contract.

Let me explain this trick with an example.

Assume that you are a subscriber with Starhub and you have just received a letter with a $100 re-contract voucher. You are currently subscribing to their 4G 4 plan at $62.90 per month.

So assume that you re-contract with them, the 32GB IPhone 7 will be available to you at $378. (Source: http://www.starhub.com/microsite/apple/iphone/iphone-7.html, As of 16/07/2017) So, with the re-contract voucher, you will be paying $378-100=$278 for the IPhone 7.

By selling this IPhone 7 to a third party, which can be sourced from the Hardwarezone Forum (http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/mobile-phones-bazaar-201/), you can potentially get about $820 (Source: Hardwarezone, As of 16/07/2017).

In this case, you will be earning $820-$278=$542.

This $542 can pay off 8.5 months of your phone bill.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to note that:

  • It is currently the middle of July and the new IPhone is coming out in about 2 months time. It is at this point where the resale price of the IPhone is at its lowest. If you are able to get an IPhone within a few months of its initial launch, your profits may be higher. I believe that the highest I ever reached was about $7xx.

I guess this strategy would be relevant for people who are not particularly choosy about their phones. If you have a phone that is falling apart, you can simply use that profit to buy a $1xx Xiaomi/OPPO phone and save/invest the rest.

Detailed introduction of the upcoming blog content

The upcoming blog content can be classified into 3 categories:

  1. Personal Finance (Twice a Week)
    • Money Saving Tips 101
    • Stock/Investment Selections
    • Others
  2. Updates of Financial Situation (Monthly)
    • Outstanding Loans
    • Monthly Expenses
    • Investments Returns
    • Portfolio Allocation
  3. Travel Reviews (Occasionally)
    • Travel Itinerary & Cost
    • Hotel Reviews
    • Airline Reviews
    • Etc.

I (the husband) will be in charge of writing posts from the first two categories because I have a long standing background in Finance and Economics, while the wife will be in charge of the travel reviews as she has prior experience in the hospitality and tourism sector.

Additionally, from now on, we will go by the nicknames Mr. Minion and Mrs. Minion (well because we are all minions in the corporate world).

Keep a look-out for our first Money Saving Tip in our upcoming post! Hint: This tip is applicable to everyone with a mobile phone!

 

Hi, Everyone! – A Short Introduction

Young Singaporean couple striving towards financial independence and early retirement

Hi, Everyone!

We are a recently married, young couple from Singapore. We aim to retire early at the age of 45-50 so we can pursue our dream of traveling the world (typical, I know), amongst other stuff.

We thought this would be a great time to start a blog detailing our journey towards financial independence because getting married can be considered as the start of a new journey. We believe that this blog will remain relevant for a long period of time for young, married couples with similar goals. We hope that they can learn from our struggles and mistakes and achieve financial independence at an early age.

This blog will also:

  1. Help us improve our writing and language skills (we both come from Mandarin speaking families so our written and spoken English definitely need some polishing)
  2. Serve as a record of our journey towards financial independence
  3. Help us keep track of our monthly expenses and set us on the right path should we deviate from it.

A Short Introduction:

The husband’s background:

He comes from a middle-income family and typical of most Singaporeans – went through primary and secondary school, served his time in the army and has just graduated from a local university. He currently works in the finance industry and is X years old.

The wife’s background:

She comes from a slightly financially challenged background – she had it tough, starting work at the age of 17. Despite that, she never gave up and continued to persevere. She completed her part-time diploma while working and just recently, completed her part time degree from a financial institution. She is currently X-1 years old and works in the education sector.

We aim to update 2-3 times a week. So remember to check back once in awhile! Coming up in the next post will be a detailed introduction of the content that all of you readers can expect!