Thanks for visiting fidilaa. Introductions are always strange, moreso when it’s online. I suppose I will talk a “little” about my background. I am Malaysian born and have resided in my adoptive home of Australia since 2001. Growing up, I have always wanted to be a rock star; starting my own band, creating songs that thousands will sing to, and touring the world. Needless to say, fame and fortune eluded me. It’s totally not because of my talents or lack thereof. So I did what many people commended as the sensible thing to do: get an education.
The Pursuit of Knowledge
What should I pursue in my grasp for intellectual enlightenment? I wasn’t smart enough for health or science-y stuff. Perhaps graphic design? Graphic design! I love to draw and graphic design is just that right? I am quite certain my years of amateur doodling was priming me up for this chapter of my life. I could illustrate cafes (a story for another time), design meme tees, draw..
“An Art related degree? Would you like us to give you a begging bowl now?” — Asian parents at their peak loving ways
So there’s THAT potential life. “Fine. How about IT?”, I lamented like the rebellious teen that I was. I have always been surrounded by computers and I grew up in the golden age of dial up internet. #OGmillenial I thought I would totally kill it and I was right. I nailed my diploma and decided to further my studies in a related field. Having a diploma without a degree is like walking out of your local Chinese restaurant after only having prawn crackers. Without a degree, I might as well be an uneducated bumpkin in my parents’ eyes.
The first semester of university life was fantastic. Met a lot of friends, did the socials, but my brain was not built to understand programming. So I followed my gut instinct and switched to a Commerce degree. It made sense, I’m Asian, I love money, and the classes were filled to the brim with my people. Plus the female to male ratio was easily the highest. Just ticking off all the life boxes, guys. Just ticking off the life boxes.
So 4 years of fun and games went by and I concluded with a nice crisp piece of paper projecting to future employers that I knew some commerce-y stuff. I never understood a “commerce” degree? Are we trading coins for bags of rye in the middle ages?
The Lifelong Grind <insert joy>
I started off my career as an admin assistant at a local music store. I used to sell musical keyboards there when I was pursuing my degree so obviously they liked me enough to want me there longer. Or maybe I was not that good of a salesman and they wanted to oust me from that department. No hurt feelings.
After a year and half doing that, I decided it was time to move one. It wasn’t even that I was ambitious or driven by some bigger calling. A friend just happened to work at a national telco and told me there was an opportunity for an Analyst. I didn’t even know what an Analyst was but my friend and I go way back so I thought it would be fun to work with him.
Within the blink of an eye, I have been working as an Analyst for over 10 years. From startups, philanthropic initiatives, to listed companies, I found myself being attracted to forecasting, budgeting, analysis, and can easily call Excel one of my favourite programs. It’s ok. Take your time. Let out that judgement. I’m not in a rush. If you asked me to trade Excel for world peace, I would have to seriously think twice.
Just like that, I stumbled onto a career that I enjoyed and equally similar, whether it’s societal influences or social media prominence, I stumbled (hard) into the world of personal finance and financial independence. OK. FINE. The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape got me hooked onto the movement. It soon snowballed to other personal finance books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and investing books like One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch.
Financial Independence — A Journey
I was always well aware of the concept of investing and money (Asian, remember?) however it was through reading these books that it actually clicked that I could gain financial independence from investing. Ever since I reached that enlightenment, I was obsessed. From podcasts to websites to books (ok, audiobooks) to YouTube videos, I wanted to absorb any speck of personal finance or investing knowledge known to humanity.
The Chinese have a tradition when we celebrate the Lunar New Year. We will visit family and friends with gifts of mandarin oranges and in turn, will receive mandarin oranges from the hosts. It’s a symbolic offering to wish one another good health and prosperity. Welcome to fidilaa, I hope you will find my thoughts, learnings, and mistakes helpful to you and I look forward to learning from you too.
Oh. One more thing. Take off your shoes please, you’re in an Asian home now.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy your stay.
joe from fidilaa.