Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Stagnant.

'Abang,' I said as we walked towards the airport terminal, 'why is it after working for so many years, we still can't afford to own a BMW?'

My husband glanced at me sideways with an incredulous look. Gila ke apa bini aku ni tiba2 mintak BMW, he must be thinking.

'For all we know, those who own BMW eat a simple meal,' he retorted. 'I doubt so, they seemed to have so much money even though they started work later than us, and they own a nicer house than ours.' I replied, thinking of a couple working at the same place I work, knowing very well they can afford a nice house, hire a maid, and having two cars one of it a Beemer. While we own only a locally manufactured car, live in a simple house and can't afford a maid.

I'm not really feeling envious of others around me. I'm just thinking, why does our financial life seem to be stagnant after all these years?

While we are easily earning triple the salaries we earned when we just got married, we seemed unable to grow our wealth. Being in a long-distance marriage doesn't help too. The bi-weekly commute means he has to set aside almost 1/3 of his salary to make the time for us.

We had tried living on one-income on two occasions - when I took unpaid leave for a year back in 2013 and then when he took a year off recuperating from open heart surgery / looking for a job here in Sarawak. None of those experiences allowed us to live our dream life. While I had the freedom and less stressful life, we couldn't save up to go on our dream holidays (I'm an avid traveller, and that is something that I also pass on to my kids). And more often than necessary, he ended up paying necessities with credit cards. So we ended up in a ballooning debt. And when he was off the job market, the same thing happened as he tried not to rely too much on my income. I supposed financial management is not his forte.

So one-income lifestyle is something that we are not ready yet although something that I would so much love to make it happen. 

At the rate we are spending our money (modestly), we ought to have hundreds of thousands in our bank account. We ought to be able to upgrade our home, own 2 cars or go on overseas holiday every year. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. Perhaps because we are still unsure where our family will end up at. KL? Bintulu? Somewhere else?

So I can't invest to upgrade my house in Bintulu because we have plans to relocate back to KL. Neither can we start upgrading the house in KL because who knows when we will be stable enough for me to quit my job. We are caught in a situation of 'Catch 22'. 

In the end, we are not able to 'live' because of the circumstances we are in. Sometimes I wonder. It's too late to wonder about it, but what if 12 years back I had chosen....
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