2023 Assorted Reflections
Investment, life decisions, renting time for money.
Hello! I want to use this time to write something more personal. So here are some of my assorted reflections.
0. Learn how to code
If I could time travel to the past, I would learn how to code sooner.
I think if I can code, it will open up many things for me to explore. I would encourage you to pick one skill that you fear the most, but it’s critical in your industry. Chip away 10 hours per week. Sooner or later, you’ll be in a much better position to build things.
If you’re interested in learning how to code, consider this as a starting point: https://fullstackopen.com/
1. Invest that money
One thing I regret is not to invest my money sooner. If you can save money, then consider educating yourself about the stock market. I always feared investment because I heard stories of people losing their money overnight.
But after I learned more about investment, I realized that you can approach investment as a gambler—and lose (or gain) money quickly. OR, you can treat the investment as a real investor.
Before you make any investment, it’s essential to prepare an emergency fund. The idea is simple: if you put money in the stock market in 2019, then the market crashed due to COVID-19. Ideally, you shouldn’t sell the stock. Because if you sell your stock when the market crashes = you lose money. Instead of selling your stock, you use the emergency fund. I found that the emergency fund should be at least 24 months of your living cost.
If you’re interested: a good starting point is to learn about government bonds. It’s the least-risk investment instrument with a low return. But don’t stuck with bond forever because the return is too low. Then, slowly learn about the stock market.
2. Frugal living
I’ve grown up not having a lot of money. That shaped me to be more conscious of how I spend my money. Whenever my friends bought shoes or watches or upgraded their phones. I don’t have the urge to spend the money unless I feel it’s needed. I am somehow thankful for this. In the past few years, I learned there’s a name for this: Frugal living.
Frugal living is essentially that: spending your money consciously. Avoid impulsive buying. As you gain more money. Your biggest enemy is to increase your lifestyle. So you never really save money, and you can’t invest it.
So when people asked me how I could survive after quitting my job. My answer is usually this: My lifestyle is not high-cost. I also saved a lot and invested a lot of money. So I can live off of that.
3. Work is trading time for money
Early in my career, I never really thought about this. One time, I came across a passage in the book: “Renting out your time won’t make you rich.”
When I work in a company, I never see it as renting my time, but this thinking alone shifted how I see my future drastically. If I keep renting out my time, I won’t be able to reach freedom in my life. Because essentially, I need to always be working in a company so I can solve my money problem (pay the bill).
So I made a huge life decision last year to quit my job because I feel I want to have that freedom. Ideally, if I want to build a game, then I have time to do it. If I’m curious about painting, then I can do it. I think this is my definition of rich—having enough wealth to give me freedom of time.
If you’re interested, start small. Build the emergency fund, get yourself health insurance, learn a specific skill, achieve ramen profitability, and build something.
Happy New Year!
If you want to get better at scoping and planning your design work, consider the Interface Design Planning workshop.