I’m financially flat.

That’s the truth entering 2023, my eleventh year in Singapore. While I’ve invested in real estate in the Philippines, my projection for this year and the following years is… flat. I think this will have to govern some of my decisions this year. How to earn more as the cost of living increases. Rent has more than doubled for me. Even if I live away from the city, I’m expected to pay higher than what I had been paying for rent five years ago. I do not want to compromise my lifestyle. I’m not going into a corner to eat cup noodles. I don’t even eat out at expensive restaurants. I think I’m right in the middle. But it’s getting frustrating.

It’s getting more and more frustrating.

I’ve been working in corporate for almost two decades and I’m looking at furniture that won’t make sense to own because I’m on a work pass. I’m starting to loathe these expat videos “how much I spend in Singapore in a month” and they so casually say they’re spending SGD 4,500 on rental while the domestic helpers are earning… what, a fraction of that. I saw an expat post for sale her pre-loved furniture set for SGD 3,500. Really. It’s not wrong, but they’re on a different field.

A good friend of mine has been reminding me that I can earn more in the United States. Yeah, I admit that’s a truth. It’s also an unfair advantage. I can move to the states, find a job, and make a living too. But I enjoy my time in Singapore… I love it here. It’s how to resolve thoughts about a sustainable future where I can earn more than enough… versus living pay check to pay check.

So that’s what this photo of coffee really means.

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