3 Weird Habits That Can Be Applied To Your Finances [TFC 100]
After a month-long break, Reggie is back for Episode 100 of The Financial Coconut! In this episode, he shares some of the unusual things he did during his break and the lessons he learnt through these unique experiences. What has black T-shirts got to do with Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA)? Listen to TFC 100 to find out!
With time in his hands, Reggie decided to fix some problems in his life by experimenting with unusual solutions like wardrobe minimalism to going for long walks. Through these experiences, he made some revelations on how we can live our lives better by allowing ourselves more bandwidth to focus on the things we want to focus on.
According to him, the purpose of this episode is not to tell us to follow his actions and go into wardrobe minimalism. Instead, he implores us to analyse our own lives and see if we can find ways to automate the simple things in life, ask more questions and gain a deeper understanding in the things we do and give ourselves undisturbed time to process the information we receive every single day.
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Reggie: Hey Coconuts! So yes, it’s episode 100 and I am back! I know I’ve been taking a break off and if you want me to be absolutely honest, I would hope to take a longer break. There’s just so many things going on. I know you are going through a lot of stuff. We’re all going through a lot of stuff, but today, just for today, I’m going to take some time to warm up again to this whole podcasting thing, getting to know the mic again, getting to know the whole setup once again.
I’m going to take a lighter topic to just be back with all of you. I’m going to share with you three crazy things that I did. I considered them crazy by societal standards. But to me, actually not that crazy. But I’ve tried some stuff during this break and I thought I’ve learnt pretty good lessons, and I want to share them with you to get started on this journey with me again… and so welcome back!
Expand Full Transcript
Good morning everyone! I welcome you to another day with The Financial Coconut. In our podcast, we will be debunking financial myths, discovering best financial practices and discussing financial strategies that fits our unique life. You get it, ultimately empowering us, creating a life we love while managing our finances.
Today, I’m going to spend some time to talk about three crazy things that I did during my break and what have I learnt? Yeah, I’m pretty proud of myself. I still remember this whole intro thing. I never looked at the script, okay? Pats on the back, yo guys!
Okay, I know recently a lot of crazy stuff going on… I know, if you need a break, please go and take a break. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes we do sprint a little bit, but you don’t want to burn out and go crazy. For all of you that are tuning in today, go and tell all your other friends that are also listeners on the podcast that Reggie is back.
Bring everyone back, come on! Let’s chime in and learn new things every week once again, of course. By now, you know that Thursdays. I’ve already hand over the reins to Andrew, which is a very seasoned host. I think he’s doing a great job talking to all these interesting people. Sometimes I will also disturb Thursdays’ Chills. Sometimes sponsors want me, I bo bian (no choice).
But yeah, so Andrew has taken over Thursday. I will still be with you on Tuesdays’ monologues. So this is Reggie. I know in the past, I don’t really say my name because I was the only host around. But now, we have multiple hosts. We’re expanding the crew so I got to make it known that hey, my name is Reggie and I have been your Financial Coconut for a while.
For everyone that’s been supporting the podcast so far, welcome home! Yes, aku sayang kau (I love you), aku cinta kamu (I love you), and yes, nāṉ uṉṉai kātalikkiṟēṉ. So yes, if you don’t know what’s that, that is Tamil. “I love you” in Tamil. I think it is accurate. You can go and ask all your Indian friends that speak Tamil to verify that. I’ve tried it on the prata stall uncle. It works because he freaked out.
Yes yes yes, enough jokes today. Clearly I’m warming up and I want to share with you guys some of the things that I’ve tried during this break. I thought it was pretty fun because during the break, I didn’t need to churn and create content as tightly as I used to have to do so I had more time to try some of these #woke things or internet sensation and all these new culture things that I thought was like “hey, maybe those things will work for me”… and I decided to try them!
After listening to 3+ minutes of me talk cock, I’m going to go to the first point. So the first thing that I did was I actually practiced wardrobe minimalism. For some of my friends who were like “eh, I thought your wardrobe already very minimal?” Yes, if you watch our lives, you know my wardrobe is very minimal. It’s always white T-shirt but I decided to take it more minimal, so I’m going to do black t-shirts.
I don’t know who’s going to listen to today’s episode… but if you’re still listening, let me guarantee you that there is wisdom here, okay? Although it sounds very stupid and very crazy but there is wisdom… I’m going to distill it for you. So what I did during the break was I went to Decathlon and I bought six black T-shirts and I threw away a lot of the other coloured T-shirts and other printed T-shirts.
Because while I don’t have a very fancy wardrobe, it still bothers me. What to wear? Today wear what colour? So I’m already very, very lean already. If you know me in real life, it’s always T-shirt and shorts, slippers pretty much that’s what it is. But I feel like it still bothers me. I still get pretty anxious deciding what to wear and all that stuff.
And then I saw Mark Zuckerberg. I saw the post of how he only wears grey T-shirts and I’m like, “oh yeah. Boy, I’m going to try.” So I went to buy black T-shirts. A few things, right? Because white T-shirt stain too easily. But yes, what happened was I went to buy the black T-shirts and I wore them… just black t-shirts everyday. I don’t need to think, and then life was… somehow a little bit more at ease.
So my goal is not to tell all of you to wear black T-shirts, I’m not going to form the black T-shirt army. My goal for telling you this is that I think that there are actually too many things that we have to make choices every day and interestingly, some of these choices… we are not even interested. We’re not even that interested. For me, wardrobe minimalism… I’m not very interested in what I wear and how people look at me in terms of what I wear. It gives me more anxiousness.
Hey, why not I automate this thing? I just make it minimal. I don’t have choices here. Everyday, I just wear the same thing. I feel like “hey, not bad! Very chill!” And you can actually take that same idea into different aspects of your personal finance. Every month you have a fixed salary that comes in, right? So every month are you going to decide how many percent goes here, how many percent goes there? No, it shouldn’t be a variable thing. It’ll be pretty crazy, every month you got to decide the variables. Why not just keep it simple and automate it? Every month, 10% goes here, 20% goes here, 30% goes here.
In the past, I was generally pretty iffy about these kinds of 50-30-20 rule or 80-10-10 rule or 80-20, 60-40… whatever percentages out there. Because I feel that it’s very blind. I feel like you need to be goal focused. You need to be targeted and you want to build towards where you want to build, but after I thought about it… okay, I still believe that you should be goal focused in your personal finance. It shouldn’t be a blind pursuit, but after you’ve set your goals, your strategy needs to be as simple as possible such that you can keep repeating. It does not take up a lot of your bandwidth to keep making new decisions.
Which is why the power of DCA (Dollar Cost Averaging), or every month putting a certain percentage into something is very powerful because you don’t really need to think about it. It becomes automated. You don’t get so stressed, you don’t get so anxious. So I’m like “hey, actually pretty good that way.” Same thing with fitness goals, everyday do 20 pushups, 10 pull-ups and 30 burpees, or what have you. Same thing with diet goals, everyday you eat the same thing.
Why do you need to have variety every day? There is no real need for variety. If you think about it, you just need to achieve your goals, right? Your goal is to achieve whatever goal you want to achieve and your system should be repeatable. So while I was practicing this whole wardrobe minimalism thing, I felt that peace and ease and I was just repeating and repeating, and I can open up the additional bandwidth to focus on things that I want to focus on… focus on things that matters to me, right? Meeting up with my friends, reading interesting stuff, listening to interesting podcasts… and I don’t need to be bothering about things that don’t matter, which to me, just happens to be wardrobe.
Of course, there are many other extension to this whole discussion, but this is one of the things that I did during this break that has helped me reinforce some of these thoughts in my head, some of these practices in me. So I want to give you that affirmation and empower you to understand that hey, you don’t need to be interested in every single thing that society tells you that you should be interested. Because I do believe that in today’s world, there are a lot of little choices that we got to make every single day. So it gets pretty overwhelming. I don’t know if you guys feel that, but I do get pretty overwhelmed with all these little, little things that don’t matter.
One of the underlying caveat of this whole discussion is that humans have limited bandwidth. So because you have limited bandwidth, unlock it for things that matter. For things that don’t, simplify it, repeat it. Just keep it minimal and keep it essential, whatever you want to call it. Essentially, make choices that matters to you. Everything else that don’t, what’s wrong with repeating it? So that is what I’ve embraced and that’s what I’ve learnt, and wardrobe is just the first thing that I’m starting with! Yeah, that’s great.
The other thing that I tried, I think people will be a little bit concerned for me… they think I’m a little bit siao siao (crazy), as if everyday wear a black t-shirt is not enough. I actually went to the extent… okay, so point number two, I went to the extent of not using soap and shampoo anymore. Huh? Don’t worry, I don’t stink. I don’t stink! I’ve met some people during this break. I’m going to share with you more, share with you a little bit more after a word from our sponsor.
Okay, okay. Coconuts, please don’t… don’t unsubscribe, don’t unfollow. Don’t give me one star rating just because I don’t use soap and shampoo. Let me just give you the backstory. So I started feeling like my skin was very dry and very itchy. It’s been a while. So I tried the most expensive body soap and shampoo and… okay, please, don’t come to me and say “hey, you know I got this better one.” No, no. Enough, I’ve tried enough.
So I’ve tried the most expensive ones out there. Au naturel… the bottle got a lot of words one. If you know what is it, you know what it is. It’s the most expensive, celebrity use that. I bought the most expensive one. I tell myself that “hey, you’re going to take care of your body because it’s very uncomfortable”. You prioritize your body, you work so hard and you want to live a good life. At least I’m at a stage where I think I should live a better life, I should take care of myself. I should stop buying cheap soap, so I bought the most expensive. So of course, like I said, I buy things that matter to me, so I spent my bandwidth on things that mattered to me. I also spent my money on things that matter to me.
So I try the most expensive soap but it didn’t work. It worked a little bit better than normal soap or cheap soap. I feel less itchy, but it still felt itchy. After a while… I’ve been reading up on this. I read different, different articles about your natural oils, your body, your skin actually is the largest organ and all that jazz. And then I saw the Johnny Harris video about him not using shampoo for five years. I’m like okay, since he can come out that he does not use shampoo, I can also come out and say I don’t use shampoo and soap.
I’m not trying to win him, but the idea is I decided to give it a shot because there was a lockdown. So since there was a lockdown, I’m not going to meet a lot of people, why not? Let me just give it a shot. What’s the worst? I just think to myself, then I know mah, then I will do something about it. But what happened was the first few days was very hot. I feel like I was very oily, I feel very uncomfortable. I feel this general like… you know when you rub yourself after sports and all, then you have all these black things that come out of you. So a lot of dirt and what have you.
But of course I doubled my shower. I did more showers. I cleaned myself a little bit more. I scrubbed myself a little bit more… okay, a bit TMI (Too Much Information). But the idea is after a while, my skin regulated itself. I’m not trying to tell you to don’t use shampoo and soap and I’m not a medical expert. I am not trying to propagate any way of life in that sense. I’m sharing with you things that I’ve tried that I think is a little crazy, which I can feel the jitters, so I know it’s socially… it will be deemed as weird.
But next time when you’re near me, please, don’t try to smell me at all. But I did, I tried that and my skin regulated itself. So after a week or two, I stopped feeling that dirtiness quote, unquote, “dirtiness.” I feel like this… more and more normal. There was this one day that I was going out to meet a friend and I was like “okay, maybe meet my friend right? How about I just use some soap?” And my goodness, it was so uncomfortable after I used the soap. My skin was so dry and got so irritated.
That was when I told myself that “okay, you know what? I think it’s okay. I think it is okay to not be the same as everybody. You don’t need to use soap and shampoo.” But of course I’m not a beauty expert. I’m not a dermatologist and I am not the most dashing person out there, so you don’t need to take my advice. I’m not trying to advise you how to take care of your body, but I’m taking this opportunity to share with you why you should question every single thing out there. I know a lot of people are pretty lazy and they want quick answers. I think it’s pretty prevalent in the personal finance space and beyond. A lot of people want quick wins or what we call quick wins, which is… “five things to do, three things to buy, two things to remove” and a lot of these kinds of content that does very well out there.
I’ve been pretty against doing these kinds of content. But of course… content market. Yeah, so it’s a whole different discussion. But the idea is because there’s a general crave of quick wins out there, a lot of content creators are creating for that. But my view is you have to question every single thing and you should be able to push boundaries and dig deeper into why everything must be like this.
It’s like why 菜饭 (economical rice) must have three dishes to the plate of rice? Has anybody tell you that 菜饭 (economical rice) must be two vegetable, one meat? Why can’t you just do two dishes? Why nasi padang (Malay rice dish) must have three dishes?
So if you think about it, there are a lot of this kind of things in our society. Of course, I take the simplest one… the seemingly stupid ones, but actually if you push it further, why must you get a house? Why must you get… there’s a whole narrative behind why home ownership is good and all that jazz. And I’m not going to touch on it here today, but the idea is have you went down deep into questioning why is this important or why should you do this?
It’s not that you need to be a contrarian and be different and be revolutionary, but the process of questioning these things that is seem as societally by right or seem as societally right to… “you should do it this way.” Or at least that’s what society tries to tell you.
If you keep questioning them, you actually come to a much deeper understanding as to why this exists and you can make a more conscious choice. To me, that is a path to becoming more conscious in your life and living a better life because you have to be able to stand by your choices.
The more aware you are… of course it is a journey. It’s not going to be like I’m going to throw this one book and you’re going to read every single thing and all the answers are going to come out. No. But this process of pushing boundaries and questioning everything that is quote unquote “by right” or social stereotypes, it’s going to make you a lot more aware, a lot more understanding and come to terms with this is who I am, or this is how I want to live my life.
To me, that is one of the key tenets of living the life you love while managing your finances well, because you need to find out why you love certain things and why you don’t. So point number two is not tell you not to use shampoo and soap. The idea here is to get you to push social boundaries, to ask yourself why are things done in a certain way? As long as you keep going down this cycle, you will have to poke a lot of these things and there is beauty in it.
The idea is not to break every single thing or be a contrarian, but to question it, whether you can accept it? That is your choice. If you cannot, find a different way to do it. If you can, great! You have a higher and deeper awareness of why you do certain things. To me, you will appreciate your life a lot more.
Which brings me to the third crazy thing that I did during this break, which is actually not that crazy. A lot of people do this, but I just want to put it out here because I think you should try it also… and that is, I went for a lot of long walks. Specifically, I did go back to NUS three times to walk. If you follow me on my socials, you know I was there.
Why did I decide to go there? The first time I went there was an accident, because I wanted to go to this particular cafe, which turns out to be not so swee (good). So it was already pretty near NUS and I was like “hey, why not let’s visit NUS?” But then after that, the first time I went, I was like “oh my god, it’s the holidays”. Nobody… it’s very quiet. A lot of stairs, good workout. And I just went there again and again and I went back at least three times!
So the thing is not to ask you to go to NUS to walk. We are not trying to start a walkathon in NUS, okay? I’m not suggesting you where to walk in itself and not… you don’t even need to walk per se, but the idea is during my walk, during my long walks, I had a lot less information to absorb, a lot more space to process information.
This is one thing that I realized amongst a lot of my friends that are taking this FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) life or doing more freelancing kind of work that have the ability to be a little bit more nimble with their schedule… actually, these days you can also, right? I think more and more companies are okay with being more nimble with your schedule, you can do different things. They benefit from a lot of these long walks also.
The idea here is not that everybody needs to go and walk and all that stuff. But the idea here is that by now you should realize that you are being bombarded by information at every single moment. Today, you have a computer in your pocket at every single moment… almost every single moment, and you’re absorbing information again and again and again. But you don’t really process it.
So whether or not you practice journaling, whether or not you practice these kind of long walks or meditation or what have you, the idea is you should dedicate some time and space… resources to process these thoughts and process all these information that you have. You don’t even need to write. You can record. You don’t need to be a podcaster and compete with me. You can join the team if you want to be a podcaster. But you could also just take your phone and record “hey dear Phone…” Or you can give it a name “dear Irene, today, what did I do… blah, blah, blah. And I felt blah, blah, blah. And I learned blah, blah, blah.” it’s perfectly fine.
The idea is you should process information because there’s just so much going on. A lot of times, I do believe that a lot of my good content and all my good ideas and a lot of all of these random things that come together actually came out of these times where I had more bandwidth to take a break and process information.
So even though you may not want to be a content creator, I think you should do it because to me, that is one of the most effective things in processing the complexity of life and the big amount of information coming through your door every single day.
So with that, I think we’ve covered enough. These are the three things that I did during this break. And of course you will think that aku (I) very wisdom or like philosophy because I do simple things also can connect until all these complicated, deep thoughts. The reality is as you are thinking more and more, you will start to connect a lot of these things together.
What I’m trying to say to you today… I’m going to sum up the three points. I’m not going to say what I did. So I don’t think people need to know that I wear… I buy 6 T-shirts, I don’t use any shampoo. This are not all the things that you need to remember, but the three lessons that I want you to remember today… number one is that you have limited bandwidth and you should spend your bandwidth on things that matter to you. If some things don’t matter or seems like it does not matter as much, it’s perfectly okay to keep them minimal and repeat them and you don’t need to actively make decisions every single day about things that don’t matter.
Number two is that there are a lot of things that society tells you “hey, it should be done this way.” But is it really the case is a big question mark. What is important is not to break it or challenge it, but to question it to a point where you can either come to your consensus with what is happening now, or you can actually take a different position.
So what I’m trying to tell you in point number two is that you should go and challenge narratives and question things and be on this endless pursuit for more knowledge, more understanding and push boundaries, not in the pursuit to break it, but in the pursuit to understand it. If it doesn’t work for you… hey, it’s perfectly okay to change.
Which brings me to point number three, and that is… there’s a lot of information coming in every day. Why not give yourself some time, dedicate some resources, some bandwidth and some space to think and process this information? It can come in all forms, whether you meditate, whether you journal, whether you record, whether you go for long walks.
The idea is I think people are not spending enough time to process information. So yes, these are the three things that I’ve learnt or I have put forth as an extension of the things that I’ve tried during this break. I hope you learnt something useful today. See ya!
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Oh, wow. Actually that was pretty hard, to be honest. I think it’s been a while since I’ve done the presentation, so I’m getting my groove back. So yes, thanks for staying with me all the way to the end. Later this week, we’re going to have a good friend of mine on the show, Ryan. He did a pretty big Kickstarter thing. I think crowdfunding is a whole new platform that is very under-discussed. So I got him on to talk about how do you be a smart Kickstarter?
So if you want to use very little money, a few thousand dollars to start a thing… he was telling me, basically the minimum that you should spend is about $2000 to do a Kickstarter campaign and it can potentially work.
He has given us a lot of good juices and you’ll hear from him later this week. Next week, we’re going to spend some time to talk about China. I know recently there’s been a lot of discussion about China. There are many topics I want to cover: CPF, China and all that stuff, but I think we’re going to talk a little bit about China because it’s a bit time sensitive, so yes.
Next week, we’re going to talk a little bit about China. I’m going to share with you my thoughts about the Chinese stocks in general. What’s going to happen? What is my take on the current market itself?
So thanks for tuning in today. Thanks for… you know, sitting through… if you listen to now, I salute you, because I appreciate that you took time off to listen all the way to this part. I hope it’s beneficial for you. If you like this kind of content, not all personal finance related, a little bit more philosophical, a little bit more… different way of life, hey, let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care.
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