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.
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; late dad’s shorts | after all these years, when i suddenly thought of you, and if i missed you, i’ll sleep in your shorts. didn’t matter that the waistband has lose its elasticity or the pants would slip down my ankle when i got up, as long as it continues to alleviate the pain of missing you… i’d still wear it. • how have you been, ayah? it’s been four months since i last visited your grave, but know that i never once left you out in my prayers. well, actually i did once a couple of weeks back. i was being selfish that night and prayed for my well-being only. i’m sorry. • i perfected a briyani recipe recently. if you are still around, and i get to make your lunches like before, i’m pretty sure you’d ask for briyani every other day. didn’t matter that briyani isn’t the most healthy thing – as long as it would put a smile on your face like what ayam masak kurmak by late grandma would do to you. • ayah, i threw away your walking stick the other day during my massive clean up of my storeroom. i had wanted to give it away to someone who needs it, but the rubber under it was missing. what’s up with loose elastic bands and missing rubbers? so yes, i threw it away. back at 537, i’d know you were awake, when i hear the rhythmic tapping of that walking stick along the bedroom corridor. two minutes later, the sound of youtube on TV would come on and you will be watching that briyani making video again. and again… and again. but man, you sure do walk slow. two minutes to get to the TV, is really long. but i wished you were still walking near me… even if it would take you ten minutes to get to the TV. • i missed you today, ayah. a little more than yesterday, a little more than the week before. will you grant me a favour and appear in my dreams once before 2019 ends? i dun need you to be in the dreams for two minutes, just mere seconds would do. and you don’t have to say a word. just smile at me like how you would, if i served you my perfected briyani. • i have loved you before. and i will love you always. alfateha, ayah. #october9twenty17
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; sometimes, i wish to jump off the dieting and exercising bandwagon and chill a little. i mean, it does get tiring thinking about the calories of the food that i am eating and if i am working out enough to dispense all that i consumed. • then i remembered all my struggles trying to shed the first 10kg. and then the next 10kg. and all the crazy ass cardio, strength and resistance training. and how i felt when i finally fit size 30 again, from being 34 – 36 for many years. and how i dislocated my shoulder, hurt my ankle, spoil my knees. • it has been a journey, hasn’t it? you see, i started this journey because i fell in love. and then along the way, i started to love myself more – not in a mastubatory way. but i pant lesser when i walk, i feel more energetic, i look less tired, and above everything else, i can now wear white. white leh! last time i wear white, Michelin tyres asked me to be their mascot. • so yes, for all of us who are struggling with our weight, we got this! each time we want to throw in the towel, look back at how far we have come. i looked back at my third picture, and i wanna cry my heart out can? why i look like balloon one?
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?
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; when i was 29 years old, i was struggling financially. i had a $12,000 credit card debt that was almost impossible to clear. i was working for a company that i was passionate about, but was poorly paid, and worse, i had pay delays every month. i told myself, i am not gonna live like this in my 30s. so i resigned and joined @singaporebridesweddings when i was a few months shy of turning 30. • my fate changed from hereon. because my work is home based, i saved on transportation, and meals. the savings that i got, i painstakingly used it to clear my credit card debts. it was a slow process, but at 32, i became debt free and reduced myself from 4 credit cards, to 1 and reduced the credit limit to $4000.00 to prevent myself from overusing it. • at 32, was also when my dad retired. and unfortunately, he had a heart attack one month after. but because my work is home based, i could function as his primary caregiver. it was tough, but i felt that it was my blessing to land this job, that gave me the ability and flexibility to function as an employee and a son. • at this age was also when i decided to rebrand @bonitobybob from a bridal boutique, to a wedding gift trays and deco services. i was very blessed in this journey together with my siblings and business was really brisk that we decided to stop after two years – because we were exhausted and miss the times when we can hang out with the family over the weekends. @bonitobybob closed for good in 2015.
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.
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; i turned 35 soon after, and had one of the biggest quarrel with my mum when i literally threw a dirty pot on the sink on the floor. you see, i have issues with people messing up things that i have already cleaned. and my siblings could sometimes be a little shoddy in that department. • my mum could not stand my OCD-ness and to protect my relationship with my family, i decided to look for a house under the single scheme program. i found #bobsretirementhome when i was 36, and my life changed even more from here. • of course, i was struggling with the renovation fees, and again, i wanted to be sure that i do not have too much debts. #bobbuyboblikebobsell were born in 2017 and it became an avenue for me to earn extras on the sides to help me financially. this was that business that not only help me with my home things, but also the one responsible for sending me and my sister @shajar_mn to umrah. alhamdullilah. • at this point, i too became an accidental instagrammer, and #bobsretirementhome became my pride and joy. three years on, this is home truly. and i never ever regretted my decision to get a house of my own.
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!”
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; you see, life throws all sort of curve balls at you. it wasn’t exactly an easy ride when i was in my 30s, but the last nine years, i was taught that with every problem, there would be a solution. and with every hardship, there will be ease. • i never regretted all the things that i have done and not done the last nine years. it took me here, didn’t it? and i think i am happy with how my life pan out thus far. sure sure, there are some dark times, but i sure do think that the blessings outweighs all the bad experiences i faced. • so yes, 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. here’s looking forward to the next 10 before i turned 49. damn girl, that sound ancient sia!
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.
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; so this got published yesterday. when i was asked by @discoversgofficial about how it is living as a single in a HDB flat – the first thing that crosses my mind was, “got bad things to say about living in HDB meh?” • well, apart from my peering neighbour who simply love to tiptoe and pop his head up and look through my windows, all is good i guess. • how did i pluck up enough courage to buy a home as a singleton and take on the biggest debt of my life? i basically just jump. i wanted to invest my CPF into something that could provide me with an assured returns, and i firmly believe that in a land scarce country like Singapore, you could never make any loss investing in a property. so bought a home i did in 2016 when i was an innocent and YOUNG 36 years old. • fast forward to three years later, this is still the best decision that i ever made. i got the house at a steal at $350,000 – servicing the HDB loan fully with my CPF. i actually invested $10,000 from my CPF before buying the house so that i could flush it back to my CPF should i lose my job (or decided to just sprawl at home and not work a few months) so that i could still service my loan even with no CPF contribution. • i am also a lot more independent, and yet within un-independent distance from my parents home should i need to rely (or run to them if got ghost at home) on them for anything. i enjoy my privacy, and freedom to do almost anything i want and i have my own space to hang out with my friends. • so yes, if you feel like reading about how i benefitted from some of the schemes provided by the government when i purchased #bobsretirementhome, you can read about it on the link on my bio. • by the way, i didn’t get the proximity grant because they introduced that to single people one month after i bought my home. and then they also up the single grant from $10,000 to $15,000 at the same time. • upset, i was. but i got over it. cause i am not petty boo! #myHDBstory
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)