TL;DR – From 29 to 39. From $12,000 credit card debt to $350,000 HDB flat.
In today’s “fake it until you make it” world of Instagram (IG), most people are sharing mostly their highlight reels. Instagram posts are often about the exotic trips people take, the out-of-this-world food people eat, and the awesomest parties people attend.
Especially for influencers. They may pretend to show some raw footages and natural photos in their Instagram stories, but I’d betcha most of those are carefully curated too.
But there is one Instagrammer whom I have been following for a few years who has been really open and real.
Also because of how authentic his posts and stories are, his following has been climbing. From the hundreds to the low thousands, and I just had a quick look. He now has over 21,000 followers.
I’m talking about Bob, an accidental Instagrammer.
Bob uploads slices of his everyday life, shares his joy, his sadness, his pride and his disappointments. Along the way, his followers, yes, including yours truly, laugh with him and we cry with him.
When he shares good finds and good buys, the items get sold out. When he shares renovation or home furnishing tips, people beg for more. When he cracks a self-deprecating joke, we laugh along with him, When he cries over his late father, we tear along with him. When he embarks on a weight-loss programme, we cheer him on.
I suppose it’s because of how Bob is willing to be vulnerable and open up to the world, of how Bob is open enough to share even the not-so-pleasant bits of his life, bits that most of us would prefer to just lock in the deepest recess of our heart and not show anyone, of how real Bob keeps his posts and stories, that we’re all willing followers on his IG.
But what I really want to share today is his three-parter birthday posts for 2019.
You see, Bob recently turned 39.
In the past decade from 29 to 39, there were many defining moments and key decisions that have brought about much change in his life. One can almost say the boy grew up quite a bit. He became more confident and a lot more comfortable in his own skin. He became more financially aware and disciplined. He even became a role model for some people.
I love how he had captured the decade in just three very personal, almost intimate Instagram posts. And I love how in his sharing, he had kept the positive vibes and tried to sprinkle some magic and love for his followers.
We all can do with more magic and love in our lives, no?
At 29, Bob had a $12,000 credit card debt
At 29, Bob was struggling financially and had a $12,000 credit card debt. At that time, he had felt that the debt was almost impossible to clear. Although he had loved his job back then, he was lowly paid and the company was so unstable financially Bob’s pay got delayed every single month.
He bit the bullet. As much as he loved the job, he just had to love himself and his family more. If he did not do something to proactively clear his debt, how was he even going to support himself and his family? How was he even going to have a future?
He quit that job and joined his current employer, Singaporebrides.com.
Yeps, it was life-changing. It took him about two years, but Bob managed to clear his credit card debt of $12,000.
He also learnt to be more financially disciplined. He reduced from four to just one credit card and even reduced the credit limit to just $4,000 so that he would not be over-spending and be caught in the rolling credit cycle again.
That was also the time Bob’s father’s health turned a turn for the worse. Thankfully, Bob had a progressive employer and also because his work was home-based, he had a lot more flexibility in terms of time. So he could actually function as his dad’s primary caregiver.
At 35, HDB’s Single Singapore Citizen scheme beckoned…
Bob’s life changed forever when he decided to get his own HDB flat after turning 35. He was living with his family and that was causing a lot of friction due to Bob’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Many quarrels after, Bob decided that he should move out to protect his relationship with his family.
Yeps, Bob joined the over 90% of Singaporeans who own their own homes, thanks to what has often described as world-class public housing policy.
In case you didn’t know, Singapore is often talked about and used as a successful example of public housing done right. Our home ownership of 91% lands us in the top three highest in the world, and over 80% of Singaporeans live in high quality and affordable HDB flats.
Home to Bob is now a 4-room HDB resale flat in Bukit Panjang. It’s near where his family is staying. The flat was completed in 1998, so it’s around 20 years old.
It’s a super-duper nice unit, so nice that there’s actually a whole article dedicated to Bob’s flat in DiscoverSG. I extracted the following from the article,
“Bob had bought the flat for around $350,000 in late 2016. Did you know that about 80% of first-time homebuyers are able to pay their monthly mortgage instalment fully with CPF? This means that they do not pay any cash out-of-pocket. That’s the same for Bob too! His monthly housing instalments are all taken care of via his CPF, so no cash out-of-pocket for him too!”
At 39, Bob is much wiser, and looking forward to the next 10 years!
Bob ended his three-parter birthday posts on a uplifting note. Yeps, power to Bob’s positive thinking! He dished out some useful life tips:
- Life throws all sort of curve balls at you.
- With every problem, there would be a solution.
- And with every hardship, there will be ease.
- Don’t regret the things you’ve done and not done.
- Life is a journey and we will all get there, or somewhere.
- Be happy with how our lives have panned out.
- Even though there are some dark times, there are blessings too.
- So yea, count your blessings and they’ll probably outweigh all the bad experiences we’ve faced.
- We all have our struggles and no one’s struggles is worse than the other.
- We work our way out and with faith, we will get out of the darkness and into the light.
I’ll leave you with a few photos of #bobsretirementhome.
You can click here to see more photos of Bob’s 4-room HDB flat and also to read his whole home ownership journey from the DiscoverSG article.
Or better yet, go follow Bob’s IG account for more positive vibes in your life, or even if just for home furnishing tips.
(Featured image via)