“No, no, no, let me pay!”
“No, auntie, you keep your money. We told you that we are going to treat you, didn’t we? Now, now, be a good girl and keep your money.”
“No, you have to let me pay. I know you girls are filial but you must also give me a chance to use my money. Every time also no need to pay, what am I suppose to do with all my money?”
“You keep your money. Use it for yourself later. Buy things that you want. Let us treat you to dinner; okay? How often do we take you out for dinner? So, please be obedient.”
“But I have everything. I do not need to buy anymore things. I do not have much opportunity to spend. You must allow me to pay. Let me pay, dears.”
“Auntie, if you don’t let us pay, we won’t bring you out to eat again! Just let us pay; okay? There, that’s a good girl!”
‘Aye’, when I want to take out money to settle the bill, it is also so difficult. I need to tussle with an 83 year old lady. It is so shameful! It is already bad that we do not take the elderly for meals as often as we wish to and when we do, they insist on settling the bill! Why can’t they just allow the young people to have the honour to be the paymasters for the day? It is already bad enough that we could not order more good food than we wished because we had to ensure the food was not too oily, too salty, too sweet, of high cholesterol or in large portions! The elderly will always tell us not to waste!
That night, after dinner with our aunt, I realised that as with age our perception of money changes. When I was a kid, I only got daily pocket money to go to school, ‘ang pow’ money during Chinese New Year and occasionally some adults would give me some coins or notes for my piggy bank.
Talking about my piggy bank, I was one kid who could never fill the piggy to the brink! Because I know I have money and I know where I keep the piggy, I would use a hair pin to pin out coins or notes to buy food! ‘Ya-lah’, since young, I already started my love for food!
Those days, there were no need to have lots of money because all basic needs were provided for. Money, to me then, was not important. Come to think of it, I was not very careful with and conscious about money during my life as an employee. I became more aware of the value of money only after I ventured into my own businesses, and failed in some of them! Now, when I am approaching retirement age (and I want to retire younger) I have become stingier with my money.
I am all ready to be a miser and ensure that my retirement funds will last until my final day! I am prepared to leave the unused funds, if any, to charity. Am I wise to make that decision? Recalling the bill settling encounter with my auntie somehow woke me up! I think I am stupid to make such a decision!
Her words; “You must also give me a chance to use my money. What am I suppose to do with all my money?” still echo in my ears! How true. Why should I work all my life to save for my old age, to live a miserly life so that I can stretch my money to survive to my last cent on the day I die (provided I do not outlive my savings!)?
I believe I should also enjoy my life as I earn so that my life is not all about working for money, right? After all, how do we know when we will die? I believe I deserve to have a chance to use my own hard earned money to live a decent lifestyle.
I hereby decide from today onwards, I shall not save, save, save; I shall also spend, spend, and spend. I shall spend while I save. Life is too short to focus on the unknown. Let’s enjoy life when we can, with what we have and can afford! Let’s give ourselves a chance to use our money!
Do you agree with me?