The Sacrifice We Made To Obtain $1.5 Mil of Dividend

My last post on “ 3rd Qtr 2018:Dividend and Portfolio Update draw much attention as to how we would be able to accumulate $1.5 mil of dividend without support from family and purely by ourselves. Some readers sent me an e-mail asking how we did that and some with complement and kind words, which I really appreciate. 

My friend LP ( BULLy The BEAR ) suggested that I should write another follow-up post to highlight how much we have sacrificed in order to obtain such amount of dividend we have today.  Another friend of mine B (A Path to Forever Financial Freedom ) even help me to think of the title of this blog post. Hahaha…

With this short supplemental notes, I hope to provide a more “balance and holistic” view on how we would be able to achieve what we have today and what was the sacrifice we made or need to be done in order not to give the wrong impression to readers that it is easy to achieve this.

As I repeatedly mentioned in my earlier post, If we are not born with silver-spoon, we will have to try and work harder to achieve the target of getting F.I.R.E

Before we talk about investing, obviously saving is the only source of capital if not from F.A.M.A (Father and Mother Association ). :D

I don’t have the detail of % we save as you know I’m not a “figure” or detail person but roughly and easily we saved more than 50% of our salary, this was also partly because we worked part-time as well. 

We worked part-time as “indoor-sales “ at one of my wife’s uncle shop at Bugis, after worked from 6-9.30 pm and even Sat & Sun, so basically it was 7 days a week unless there was some occasion or going back to my hometown.

This continued for about 7 years before we have our 1st child in 2002. Another “cheapo” the thing we did was buying “milk-powder & diapers “across the causeway, it can easily save us more 20% in total bill, remembered 积少成.

This is another important aspect of accumulating your capital to invest, other than your saving rate. 50% of $10K definitely has much impact on your saving amount ultimately as compared to 50% of $3K. 

We will have to work hard and work smart to climb the corporate ladder and STE is happy that he will be able to climb the ladder smoothly from just a junior executive to Deputy General Manager in 18 years before he steps down and do things he likes now. I am happy that this higher than average & stable “active income” or human capital, whatever you called it really assist me in accumulating my capital for investment in a much faster pace.

So, don’t forget about the human capital part of you and build a good career path to assist you in accumulating your “investing capital”.

先苦后甜 vs 先甜后苦

Yah, I think this is the “trade-off “ or choice you have to make, either enjoy first or later.

Our wedding party/dinner was simple and in Malaysia, I still remembered it cost around RM$550/table and we invited only relative and some very close friend, with total of 10 tables. 

Also, no fancy honeymoon destination, guess where we go? Yes, one of the beach resort at East Coast of Malaysia. I think for a young couple nowadays, most would have to spend around $30-50K on their wedding including banquets/ photography, rings/Solemnization/honeymoon etc, depending on how “Grand” they would like it to be.

Live Within (Below) Your Means

I think this is rather important  for example housing, a young couple tend to eye for a bigger house after they got married, of course, it comes with a cost and eventually you may need to sacrifice a bit of your saving on retirement.

image credit to

When we bought our first re-sales HDB flat in 2000, it was a 3-rooms flat which cost us around $124K at that time and we try to pay off the loan asap. We sold it at around $238K in 2009 and shifted to our new 5 rooms flat as our daughters have grown up and need more space. We live happily in HDB till now ….

Well, other than saving for capital, the other part of the equation with be your R.O.I . which ‘luck “ might have some role to play, at least for me.

I will not try to elaborate more about my investment results here, but you can find more about how the “Luck Factors “ play during my investing journey especially in 2008/09 . ( How Much Luck in Investing Success? My Experience in 2008/09: here )

You may notice from my “dividend chart “ that how the amount had increased tremendously after  2009 where we bought more REITs at that time, some with double-digit % of Yield.

The rest is just history, now we are enjoying our fruits and going holidays where we want ….of course “freedom to choose “, spending more times with family.

Cheers !! 


  1. Sim : thanks for the inspiring and balanced take of your journey.. I am sure it will inspire a lot of your readers (myself included)

    1. Hi Richard ,
      Thanks, glad to know that... :D

  2. Both hand and thumb up for this excellent post !

    Capital size comes from high savings from many years of hard work through human capital escalation and compounding !

    You have scored Distinction in both human and financial asset.

    How many young inspiring investors really know this "secret"?

    The power of compounding human asset always comes first and will be many years ahead before compounding investment return can show its color.


    1. Hi Uncle CW8888,
      Yah , Saving & Human capital are both what we will need to improve before talking about investing , where ROI could be factor of luck and gut to some extent , especially during Crisis...we need to have very strong psychology aspect on this...
      Cheers !! :D

  3. Hi STE

    Really good balanced approach and a bitter hard work at the beginning with a very sweet ending ever after.

    Your story should be in one of those that every grown up students have to read before they face the hardship world.

    1. Hi B,
      Thanks for helping me to think of this blog title ...
      Cheers ! :D

  4. Hats off sir and please accept my congratulations! Your posts are always inspirational to me and I hope that readers appreciate and understand where you are coming from! The concept of hard work , humility, living within your means and more importantly discriminating between "needs" and "wants" has been clearly illustrated in your post. Delayed gratification is a concept steeped in humility and virtuous living - a cherished Asian trait!
    Once again thanks very much and my respects to you and Mrs STE!!😀

    1. Hi garudadri,
      Glad to know that , thanks for the comments.
      Cheers !! :D

  5. Hi STE,

    Impressive to hear about your journey to "millionaire-nary" dividends. Probably you are lucky to have a wife who shares the same aim and frugal lifestyle as yourself haha.
    For some cases, such end vision may only be found in one of the spouse which will slow down their retirement; in order to please their husband/wife.

    Still, congrats to the fruits your family have reaped :D

    1. Hi Frowns88
      Yah, that's the important aspect which I miss to mention , I'm glad that I have my wife who share the same vision in term of lifestyle and how we are going to bring up our child...that's really important as couple to shape the future together .. you can't have this if both are heading different direction...
      Cheers !! :D

  6. Wow, that is a crazy lot of dividends. I also mainly invest in REITs but not as much as you do.

    1. Hi Sweet Retirement,
      It take times to compound , I'm sure your dividend will increase year by year !! Yah.. I have seen your portfolio ... quite a lot of REITs in your holding as we have few same stocks ...also Comfort Delgro and Kingsmen Creative .... happy Investing
      Cheers !! :D

  7. This is really impressive and definitely serves as an inspiration to us! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Kate,
      Thanks for the comments , I enjoy reading your blogs as well,,,, the power of less !
      Cheers !! :D

  8. hi ste, glad to hear your successful story. could i ask, how you know the route to take, say in your late 20s or early 30s, to achieve what you have achieved today? I mean, the sacrifices which u and ur wife made earlier on. living well below your means and investing etc. were you sure, or rather what makes you feel sure that this is the feasible way to FF? did you attend any courses? or received any instructions from some sources etc? And even if you were very sure of this, to make you wife follow you through is indeed commendable.
    hope to hear insights from you.
    thanks in advance

    1. Hi King Yoland,
      Thanks for the comments , I think this is really a tough question as we don't really get to know what will happen in 10-20 years later , what will be our career or family like is anybody's guess . I think the only thing I (or we ) have will be the "belief" in what we are doing ,which is right and will lead us to correct destiny / path for financial independence.
      We got to have such mind-set.... also , learn from those who have gone through this process / journey to FI.
      You may also refer to below link , on what I have learned from this journalist during my secondary school time..

      I guess all these shape our " belief " in what we are doing in early stage...
      Hope this clarify..
      Cheers !! :D

  9. Quote: "先苦后甜 vs 先甜后苦"

    From cold eye …..


















    1. Hi Raymond,
      Yah,,,well said, strike a balance between work n enjoy life...not “ 钱在银行,人在天堂”,,cheers.

  10. Hi STE,

    I have been a silent reader of your blog and really amazed at the amount of dividends which you have accumulated over the years. I can totally relate to the sacrifice of time that you have made to work part time on top of your full time job. Really have to take my hat off to you that this can still continue for 7 years.

    1. Hi The Boy Who Procrastinates,
      Thanks for the comments, yah,, the 7 years hardwork will be the strong foundation for us to compound to be what we hv today,, guess worth it..
      Cheers ! :D

  11. Hi STE,

    Very inspiring and motivational post from you once again to remind and educate me in the upcoming journey.

    If one do not live within their limits, it would be a terrible sight to see when their personal balance sheet rolls out.

    But definitely, as I progresses with time, I start to understand a little bit more on enjoying quality time spent :)

    1. Hi sleepydevil,
      Yes, strike a balanced between work n enjoy life is rather important...Glad to know that u are progressing well n enjoying quality time.. :D
      Cheers ..,!

  12. Investing is about "diividends" from the business we invested. Any capital gin is bonus.

  13. an aspiring post. This is my fourth year in investing and slowly building my portfolio with a single income.

  14. Hi, I had stopped work a few months back, after spending some 25 years to build a sustainable portfolio. Now, mainly relying on dividends income and also some stocks trading income. However, I find it quite boring and a big change from the hectic life I used to lead. Also, there is little social interaction. Do you have similar experience when you first stopped work and how do you address it? Thanks.

    1. Hi , Yah, I guess everyone will have same dilemma when one have sudden and major change in their lifestyle or day to day routine. Yes, I have same experienced as you when I first stop working , but slowly find way to fill in the "blank" , especially spending more time with kids (also find new hobbies like games , reading , short trips etc) . As I said , life after FIRE is much different for one with or without kids , is much more easy to adapt when you have 2 kids , which will make u much more busy ...
      Hope u may find your new " hobbies " to occupied your free times and avoid " die of boredom".
      Cheers !! :D


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