My 1st Million At 33 – yes, you can do it too

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    Turning down Apple’s job offer

    Posted by Frugal on 16th July 2014

    Turning down Apple’s offer was one of the hardest decision that I had to make recently. I’m optimistic about Apple’s future, but I’m getting too old to sacrifice my family life quality and take a significant net loss in after-tax income after adjusting all the additional expenses for relocation.

    A 11% increase in base salary, which easily gets offset by bonus at my current job, just simply won’t cut it. Although I may have better career prospect, the life quality for my family & kids would be significantly worse. I was wishing that Apple could make a better offer to me, but I guess that there is just no middle ground that would work for Apple & me.

    I have already watched Apple run up by 7% since then. I guess maybe there may be even more percentage difference going forward between Apple’s stock and the stock of my current company.

    Life is all about choices and tradeoffs. And this choice was a tough one. While 5 to 10 years down the road, it could be much better by going to Apple, but my kids just won’t be at home anymore by then. Family life quality wins over money & career this round.

    Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

    My Mom was a Tiger Mom

    Posted by Frugal on 30th March 2011

    With all the buzz around Chinese Tiger Mom, it is no doubt a shock to American culture on parenting. I myself know firsthand from the experience of being raised as a “Tiger Kid”, although in a less demanding way relative to what Amy Chua (the Tiger Mom) demanded from her two daughters. However, the two most important questions that need to be asked is whether the kid can become more (financially) successful and happier in life.

    My mom certainly didn’t (need to) demand me as much in my academics because I was a self-motivator. I did well in my regular school curricula, and pretty much ranked top 3 in my class from grade 3 and up. However, it was that every long summer vacation that my mom really excelled in her Tiger Mom’s style of parenting. I can almost say that I was busier taking all kinds of classes during summer vacation than regular school sessions. I had to learn painting, piano, literary compositions, swimming, math, English, science, etc. when most of my classmates were out playing, having a real summer vacation. And of course, piano lessons were throughout the year and not just in summer.

    What did I gain from all the extra-curricular lessons? Unfortunately, I have to say that except having mastered the basics of each subject, I didn’t excel in most of them at all. And I was certainly not happier due to all the extra stress from being asked to perform at the levels that were beyond my age. In fact, I actually cried from hours and hours of practicing piano. I didn’t like it.

    Fortunately, my mom was sensible and didn’t push me for too many years. She even tried to help me learn more on the subject (science) that I was more interested in too. I was actually trying to learn college level physics (electromagnetics) when I was 11th grade through a tutor. But because my parents knew little about science, they couldn’t help me properly to follow a correct course of curriculum. You know, you just can’t learn electromagnetics without learning enough about Calculus. But my parents didn’t know, and nor did I.

    From this personal experience, I think that unless the kids are interested themselves in the subject, there is no use of pushing kids to the extreme. Sure, some push are needed only because human nature is to lay back and being lazy, but going to extreme is simply not healthy. In fact, my wife’s nieces whom I personally tutored Calculus when they were still in high school got fed up by their Tiger Mom so much, such that the daughter swears to never go back home to see her parents (for many years now), and the son has a mental disorder from all the undue stress and dropped out from university. Both of them went to Stanford and Harvard, the best schools that you can ever hope for, but lives were literally destroyed from this process. Such can be the Tiger Mom’s “rewards”.

    Therefore I must conclude that between Tiger Mom’s style of ruthlessly push and western style of praising mediocrity, there must be a subtle balance. Tiger Mom may or may not bring financial success, but it’s almost certain that it can easily bring unhappiness.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

    One of the best charity: Blood donation

    Posted by Frugal on 16th February 2011

    I used to donate blood before I have children. With small children in the family, my life is always extremely busy and circles around children. This year however I finally made a vow to donate blood as often as I can. What made me a little sad is that because of all the constraints & regulation, even if I donate at maximum possible frequency which is every 56 days, or about 6 times a year, there is only so much blood that I can give (1 pint per visit). Human lifetime is so limited, and we can only give so much. I was going to fill up my office wall with Red Cross stickers. I guess I won’t be able to do that.

    Even though I’m often so busy that I don’t even have 1 hour to spare for blood donation, that one hour is probably the best relaxation time for me for months. I lie there, staring at the fluorescent lights, imagining how helpless the sick people must have been at the hospitals lying on the same beds. And I always make a prayer during the blood donation that whoever receives my blood can recover as soon as possible with God’s granted grace. Yeah, sometimes the donated blood won’t get used in the allowable time, but that is just part of the business.

    To be able to donate blood, one obviously must be healthy. The last time I donated blood, Red Cross told me that if my diastolic blood pressure is more than 100, I won’t be able to continue to donate blood. I measured 100 exactly. She advised me to start taking my blood pressure medicine, and don’t delay anymore. When I came home, my 4 year old kept staring at the bandage around my elbow. Finally, his curiosity overcame him. He asked me what happened to me. I told him that I gave blood. And he couldn’t understand. Then I showed him a youtube on blood donation. He was a little scared, a little amazed, and somewhat confused. I hope one day when he grows up, he will understand and also donate blood for good.

    I have always made it imperative to teach my children about charity. I want them to understand that how lucky they are to enjoy all the material things around them, and that if ever we own anything, it is given by God. We all come to this world with nothing, and we will leave this world with nothing. I am not sure if my kids will understand all of these one day, but I have great faith & hopes just by looking into their innocent eyes.

    Posted in Estate & gift, Uncategorized | Comments Off