Salam Aidilfitri everyone – what a short holiday! As some may know, I started working again 2 years ago, after a 4-year break. Let me tell you this – it’s really, really difficult to get hired while you’re out of a job, and if you’ve been off the market for more than 4 years, it’s almost impossible. That is, unless you have excellent connections. In my case, I think I was extremely lucky to get hired even though I had little expertise and experience in the area.
Now, after 2 years of working, I still have much to learn. Going back to work after a long break entails lots of catching up, lots of reading, researching, new wardrobe 😁, etc. And above all, ready to work extra hard as I’m slow at catching up. Not surprisingly, my BP alarmingly shot up during my first month on the job and out of that experience, I shared my tips on how to lower our blood pressure in my other blog, Dulu Lain Sekarang Lain. Silver lining there….
Working Mom vs SAHM
I think there’s no point debating about which is better – being a working mom or a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), because it’s an individual’s decision for her family. But I believe that most moms would rather spend more time with their family than without them.
I have many friends who are ready to return to work after years of being a homemaker, but with no success. So, to moms out there who are contemplating leaving their jobs to raise their kids, do so with a clear plan for the future. Decide whether you’ll be a SAHM forever or if you think you’ll work again after the kids are grown up. If you plan to return to work, I suggest you:
- always keep up with the industry updates – Take time to read the news, relevant websites, articles on LinkedIn, etc;
- don’t sever your relationship with your ex-colleagues though you may feel awkward chatting with them – There are many ways, eg FB, IG, etc (if not actual face time);
- take good care of your health and your appearance – If you’re not well and don’t look presentable, you will not get hired. Even simple workouts are better than none. And do not neglect your skincare routine, day time and night time because like health, prevention is better (and cheaper) than cure. Be cautious of what you put on your skin, it might affect your health.
- have extra money tucked away to cover expenses that you may incur during the first few months of work such as work clothes, commuting, meals, etc.
Those are the basics. There’s no harm in being prepared.
I am rambling here because I miss the time when I could indulge in my favourite past-times, eg reading fictions and cross-stitching. Nowadays, sleep is a priority because it’s essential for a healthy mind, body, spirit and skin! Watching Netflix is now my hobby – which is also the time when I could sneak in a bit of knitting. This year has been very hectic – I only read books or materials related to my work, or self-help books to improve health and finance. Sounds boring, right? Yes – but it’s necessary for my health and career.
Speaking of books, I would like to share an interesting book that I am currently reading : ‘Your Money or Your Life‘ by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. It’s on personal finance – specifically how to be free of debt and live comfortably in old age.
I’m now reading Chapter 3, and the steps are slightly different from Dave Ramsay’s ‘The Total Money Makeover’. Fyi, I am a fan of Dave Ramsay and I still have debts to settle – I really hope to settle my mortgage before I retire. I even ordered for myself an Envelope Wallet so that I can segregate my cash according to categories.
‘Your Money or Your Life’ by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
When I read Chapter 2 of Your Money, I felt like I was pinched. It was not even the first step, it was the preliminary, and yet it frightened me. The authors ask us to estimate how much of our life energy is left (hours available for us to do the things we want if we live up to 85/86, minus 50% for body maintenance).
For me, it’s about 195,000 hours. I estimate that if I work till I’m 60, I would have about 66,000 hours left to work. It’s important to know this because we trade our life energy for money. For example, if I earn RM10 per hour and I work for the whole 66,000 hours, that’s only RM660,000. How much can I save? After expenses, not much. It certainly puts things in perspective.
We give our precious time to our employers or our business in return for money.
Then, we are asked to calculate the actual cost in time and money spent to maintain our job. In other words, our real hourly wage.
What is your real ‘Hourly Wage’?
The calculation method is not simple. It’s not simply : monthly wage / (days in a month x 8 hours of work). We must take into account the costs that we have to bear to enable us to work (eg. commuting costs & hours, paid meals, work clothes, daycare, etc). I guess it’s almost like our ‘nett hourly wage’. Essentially, it’s the exchange rate for our life energy and it’s way smaller after all those deductions.
Once we have determined our real hourly wage, every cent we spend our money on will reflect our life energy used to acquire that amount of money. In my opinion, it’s a neat psychological method to refrain us from spending unnecessarily. For example, if my nett hourly wage is RM5 per hour, I will know that each time I indulge in my favourite Starbucks frappuccino (RM15), it’s equivalent to 3 hours of life energy! Unsettling, right? And to think that after all those calorie consumption, I may have to workout some more to burn those excesses!
Why do we do what we do?
The authors explain the importance of identifying the ‘why’ we do something – drinking, smoking, shopping, excessive eating, etc. It’s about tackling the root causes of our habits of spending money on non-essential stuff. They are not judging, merely offering guidance. For example, sometimes people smoke because of peer pressure. Sometimes, because of marital problems. Or sometimes, we shop for clothes excessively because we lack self-confidence. If we know the ‘why’ then we can figure out the ‘how’ and take control of our actions. Treat the cause, not the symptom.
The Short Cut
In case you want a feel of the book, you could read an article summarizing the key points in the book HERE. I may skip finishing the book because of this 😬. It’s a nifty summary.
If you are interested to learn more about personal financial matters, I suggest you read Dave Ramsey’s book first, then Your Money because Dave’s Total Money Makeover is easier to digest. I read all 4 of his books (but retain and practice only a few, unfortunately). I think I’m going to take a bit from Dave and a bit from Vicki in order to improve my financial habits.
Fyi, Dave also has radio shows, podcasts, etc, where he helps people from all walks of life to take control of their personal finances, get out of debt and retire happily and comfortably.
Money matters, everyone!