October 21, 2015

Kerja sampai masuk lubang!

On a recent trekking trip with my neighbor … actually it was the first trip with him though I lived opposite him for many years, we had a good conversation during the hike up a small hill … we talked about our lives, families, friends, work, hobbies, etc.

I knew he had a heart bypass operation some years ago and we talked about it and he told me that he had just changed job because his previous work environment was quite stressful and I asked him why not retire since he is already 58 years old. Then he said … “Saya kerja sampai masuk lubang!”. For those who don’t read Bahasa Malaysia, loosely translated it means … “work until I get into the hole!” or in proper words … “work until the day I die!”

You see, my neighbor has a large extended family … with 8 children and the youngest kid is just 4 years old, he will still have to work for quite a number of years to take care of the financial needs of his family. Unless his fortune changes, I can understand why he said that he has to work until the day he dies.

I retired early and I always have this idea that people should retire early if they can. Then the common questions people will ask are … when should I actually retire? How much I should have? With all the time in the world, what should I do? And plenty of other related questions.

The answers to these questions are very subjective … different people have different views on the subject of retirement or early retirement.  So, I can’t say when, I can’t say how much you should have and I definitely can’t tell you what you should do, if and when you retire. There are no right or wrong answers … just difference of opinions.

But what I can say is … if you think that you have to have millions so that you can retire and continue to live in luxury … then keep working until you get your millions. And by the time you get your millions … I hope you have enough time to spend them all.

If you worry that you may need hundreds of thousands stashed away just in case of medical emergencies in your later years … then keep working until you have saved the money and very likely by that time, you WILL need it.

If you want more than what you need … you will have to keep working and keep chasing … as the chase for more is a race, a perpetual race that takes you round and round until the day you cannot race anymore.

If you want to save money and accumulate wealth for your children … then keep working … work and make sure you have saved and accumulated enough for your children so that they don’t have to struggle to make a living for themselves.

If you are worried that you have absolutely nothing to do as if you are waiting to die when you retire … then keep working until you are physically unable to work anymore and when you finally retire you really don’t need to do anything.

Last but not least … if you don’t know when to stop chasing dreams and start to appreciate memories … then keep working and chase after more dreams until you lose the memories of who you really are, where you come from and those who really cared about you.

You see, there is always enough for one’s need but there is never enough for one’s greed. The sad fact is … some people continue to work not because they don’t have enough … they just want more.

Well, like I said earlier … there is no right or wrong here, just difference of opinions … so if people want to ‘kerja sampai masuk lubang” … I am sure they have their very own reasons to do that.