My Retirement Test Drive

When I turned 40 last year, suddenly it felt as though I was running out of time in life. I started wondering why I am running on a treadmill that no longer excites me ( I used to love my job ! ). I came across a video

shared by SGYI ( and decided then to do a mini retirement test drive to see how well I could survive living on my monthly passive income, practice a minimalist life and work on things that truly excites me. Here are some highlights / lessons learnt from this mini retirement test drive  :


  1. Your colleagues and friends thinks that you are crazy when you retire too young.
  2. You will constantly be bombarded by friends/colleagues/headhunters who wants to push you back to the treadmill again. It is difficult to resist the temptations.
  3. Your friends who has never treated you before started buying you drinks and meals. 🙂
  4. Your friends stop inviting you to join them for vacations because they feel anxious that you are spending money without a job.
  5. You keep getting questions in terms of how you spend your free time.


  1. You need to set aside a decent set of emergency fund as your income is now not as consistent as your monthly salary. The passive income varies across different months thus you need to be more prudent in the way you plan your spendings.
  2. You should still adhere to a saving and investment pattern with the passive income you receive.
  3. You realize that you don’t really need that much money to survive. In fact, you save more without having to try too hard because you have more time thus you tend to eat more healthy or less, you have time to take public transport and you no longer crave for “stuff/things” to relieve you from the stress you derived from work. You can live decently and comfortably with just 2.7 K SGD per month. ( Food – approx. 500 SGD per month, Transport – approx. 250 SGD per month, Utilities such as mobile, cable, water, electricity – approx. 250 SGD per month, Misc / Savings – 200 SGD per month, Parents Allowance – 1.5 K SGD per month)


  1. You may easily lose count of days, weekends and public holidays.
  2. You need more discipline as you can get caught up with idleness as you have so much time in your hands. There’s always the temptations to push things till tomorrow. Thus, you should still set goals for yourself else you may eventually lose the purpose in life and maybe even self-identity as the years go by. Imagine you have another 40 years to go !
  3. You won’t get bored as there are so many things that can keep you preoccupied. Whether these things can make you feel fulfilled that’s another story.
  4. Your travel experience can be more meaningful as you no longer have a schedule you need to keep up with nor a set of responsibilities that occupies your mind during your travel.
  5. It broadens your perspective and gives you inspiration in terms of how others live their life and make a living differently as you start connecting with networks outside your comfort zone or norm.
  6. Less clutter makes life more simple, less chores. It allows you to focus on things that truly matters.


  1. You become more healthy as you are more conscious about what you eat and how your body reacts to them.
  2. Waking up naturally everyday is a beautiful experience and in fact should have been a human right. 🙂
  3. You start having a glow without having to slap on those expensive beauty creams.


  1. You start building more genuine relationships as there are no more agenda. People with agenda slips away by themselves.
  2. Technologies like Facebook, Whatsapp and Line keeps you connected thus you won’t feel lonely and disconnected but you have to be conscious not to spam your friends who are still running on the treadmill.


  1. Get your linkedin and recommendations updated so that if you decide to go back to the treadmill after a few years. You still have the credentials with you.

Now I understand why the very rich never seemed to be able stop working. Living an intentional but purposeful life is extremely important to a person’s well being in any phase of one’s life. I have since started on an exciting project…

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish 😉

  1. i applaud you and especially for having an exciting project….I stopped work for 2.5 years and they have been the best investment in my relationships, health and mental well being. I took time to give back to my family and tried all sorts of things! It was fun! Now I am back on the treadmill, albeit a slower one than before my break, I miss those nice days of ease and no hurry… Life just flows….enjoy yourself!

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi HP,
      Thanks for sharing. Looks like taking a short sabbatical have done wonders for you. I will heed your advice and enjoy myself 🙂

  2. I am also still running so hard on the treadmill. I wish I started out investing 20 years ago.

    Your post above is my wish list after retirement.

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi My Sweet Retirement,

      It’s never too late to start investing. Sometimes, taking a short sabbatical may not be a bad idea. Good luck.

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi Createwealth8888,
      You have also started your retirement ? Looking forward to your sharing.

  3. Hello LUCBF, what exciting project are u doing? Something relating to fulfillment of purpose or retirement?

    I can truly relate to what u shared, as I took a year off in 2013 to travel, live and breathe. Now I am on the treadmill again, but the one year off has changed me. I am more conscious of the end goal, and is more purposeful and happier nowadays.

    Do drop me an email if u wan to chat about life. We are about the same age and seems to be on similiar paths in life 🙂

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi An9elfire,
      Working on a project that is aligned with my passion nothing related to retirement. Am curious to find out what makes you go back to the treadmill and was it easy for you to stop yourself from getting sucked into the old dogma again since we have subconsciously adopted a style that we are so accustomed to.

  4. This speaks to my heart. Almost all of the points you mentioned do match with what I experienced myself over the last three years.

    Incidentally, I recently found in an high-end shopping center in Orchard Road (out of all places) a plain blue T-shirt with “MINIMALIST” printed on it. I bought it (is that a contradiction to the T-Shirt’s message?) for S$ 20 (I guess not, as I consider that a fair price for a T-Shirt and I needed one anyway).

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi Tacomob,
      Will check out your blog to see how you have been practicing Minimalisim. 🙂 I am curious to learn how you have managed to keep away from the temptations of treadmill. 20 bucks is definitely a decent price for a T-Shirt.

      • Oh, on my blog I am very minimalistic in regards to sharing my life-style.
        Thank you for your confirmation. It always feels great having a lady confirm my “good-value- for-money-purchase”. haha

  5. Fascinating that you’re able to do a test drive. I must say that for my colleagues who recently retired, they all appear to have a glow about them whenever we chance to meet. Most have become healthier. A smoker has started cutting smokes. A slightly overweight friend has started losing weight. Seems like FIRE burns well. I’m envious.

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi Lizardo,
      I am glad I did this test drive coz it gives me a better perspective of what to expect when I am really retired or if I ever want to retire :).

  6. Hi Lady,

    During my sabbatical last year, I wasn’t really that willing to divulge my status to some (not so close) friends, not wanting to entertain those “perceptions”.

    And interestingly, I grew to prefer weekdays compared to weekends!

    I think overall, what you mentioned is quite congruent with my own experience and hope your exciting project turns out well…

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi My15HWW,
      I enjoyed the “perceptions” coz suddenly you know who are genuine friends / acquaintances to keep. Sometimes, those whom you regard as acquaintances may surprise you with their kind gestures. Friends that you think are close to you may be the ones that shocked you instead.
      I also agree with you on the part where weekdays are better than weekends.

  7. I took a break for about 10 months before whilst waiting for my overseas role (i wasnt really retired).

    It was quite refreshing at first but then i started to get bored. I got on coursera to do some free learning but then i got bored too. I met up with friends and ex colleagues for teh /lunch and when they had to go back to work, i got bored.

    I started wondering about what to do and sometimes i wonder if i would be happier at work by having something to deliver and having a place to go and do everyday.

    I still think that it was a good break and i am back on the grind, albeit in an overseas role. I guess you would find out for yourself how your retirement test will turn out. Maybe one good way to ask oneself is ‘so whats next?’

    Good luck and keep blogging! 🙂

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi Pib,

      Where are you now? Must be fun working overseas. Experiencing new cultures, new cities, new food. I enjoyed it when I had my own overseas stint, wished I had stayed longer. I totally can understand what you mean about being bored. I think it’s more about the feeling of fulfillment. Which is why some people rejects the term retirement totally.

  8. i am currently working in Melbourne now (Hoping to see if I can go sydney :p). Yes, its a different experience from when i was working in HK! I feel as if i have lived 3 different lives!

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi Pib,
      Wow…3 lives, that’s a great way to frame it :). No wonder you get bored so easily. Good luck in getting posted to Sydney :).
      I like Melbourne more than Sydney though, Sydney is too much like Singapore.

  9. Peter

    Hi, may i know what portfolio tracker are you using? Looks really good. Thanks!

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi Peter,
      I am using my broker’s portfolio tracker. What you are seeing is just an excel export. The broker I am using is DBS Vicker.

  10. Hi Pib,

    I am a 25 year old young investor and i really inspired to be like you one day. I am so impressed with how you build your wealth since you first starting working. I wish that i could be like you one day.

    I wish that you a happy retirement, and don’t forget to keep updating your blog 😀

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi Bob,
      I believed Pib hasn’t gone into retirement 🙂

      • yep i am still working leh. i think i might never retire since i am so easily bored …

  11. Grake

    Great advice… Planning to look forward to retirement by 40. 10 more years down the road for me. I’ll say I’ve seen rich and superb rich guys. But when they reaches a self-sufficient state. They tend to explore things they love and things they that made them safisty. To them, it ain’t about the money anymore.

    Money can only get that far.
    The rest of the journey is up to you.

    But what is the definition of being rich…

    • Lady, You Can Be Free

      Hi Grake,

      Well said. In fact, it is a challenge when you need to start living outside the norm, that’s why many eventually go back to run the treadmill after awhile since they are so accustomed to that lifestyle already and to be part of the common norm.

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