I Am Kim Ellie. I am a Korean auntie living in Singapore for about 16 years. In my previous working place, I was called Ajumma which means Korean auntie. I am living with 5 Singaporeans ( Parents In-Laws, Husband and two wonderful kids). My favorite breakfast is Fried Bee-hoon paired with Kopi C Kao.
I am often questioned: “what brought you to Singapore?” My usual answer in the initial days… If I had knew how it would be like, I would have given a deeper thought to do so.
Flash back on my life
I was born in Kwang-ju, southern city in Korea. I moved to Seoul by myself when I entered the university. Back in my hometown, all I was expected is to be myself- good and smart. Coming from a small town where my basic necessities were all well taken care of by my mother, I was in awed when I entered University. Competition from my school and classmates was intense, as they all happen to be smarter, richer, cultured and definitely an all rounded. Oh yes, did I mention that they were coupled with good looks too. At a tender age of 18, I had to adjust to the environment and face major milestones in my life.
I was offered a job in Singapore when I was working as a part timer in an American bank in Seoul. I have never travelled out of Korea. But I jumped on the opportunity and took up the job. With only 2000SGD in my pocket, I came to Singapore in year 1999.
As I have mentioned previously I would have given deeper thoughts before agreeing on the opportunity if I have know the lifestyle and culture in Singapore. My command of the English language was just good enough for me to comprehend conversations. Holding a fluent conversation in English was tough. I was even being humiliated right in my face that my command of the language was horrible. I struggled and survived my initial two years here. But somehow it didn’t occur to me that I should just pack and go back home. My survival instinct got better of me.
My Singapore Romance and marriage
I met my Singaporean husband. On our third date, he suggested the idea of marriage. However years down the road, the husband will jokingly mention that it was me who suggested the idea of marriage. I am glad that we took the decision to get married as I personally feel that “The more you know the person, the more difficult to make commitment to marry the person.” I suppose most of the married couple would agree with that. I am definitely grateful that we are happily married for more than a decade and with 2 wonderful kids.
Of Inspirations and Career
I had a good run as a foreign exchange broker for 12 years before I quit. Somehow, I started feeling queasy in my comfort zone. It suddenly dawned upon me that an office job was not for me. I felt like my soul was taken by something else. I was thereafter inspired by Steve Job’s famous Stanford commencement talk.
With that inspiration and courage, I decided to quit that plushy job only to realize that: “Hey I am no Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs could pull off what he did because he is Steve Jobs. So before you want to quit your job to follow your dreams, consider your options well and perhaps think if you could be like Steve Jobs too.”
My tipping point and life changing moments
Foreign exchange dealer/broker has been voted as the most well paid job. There was a case that two traders sued the previous employer for the payment of $400,000 to 2 Million. Those were the clients of my colleagues.
Ironically, I saw the people with the salary that everyone can dream of. But they were actually having a less than perfect relationship with money and their personal life. Receding hairlines, bulging stomach, multiple divorces, bad habits like gambling leading to debts and drinking.
The only word that reflected them would be- insecurity. They feel empty within, no matter how much they earn.
What I learnt from that industry was the importance of having a conscience in our life, especially with regards to money matters. When we are unclear about what we want in life and how to manage our wealth, money starts to manipulate our life.
So here I am writing this article to my readers that a earning a high six -figure salary doesn’t guarantee happiness. Wealth or money management gives freedom to an individual instead of the amount you earn. A word of advice to my readers: “Money exists to serve us, not us serving money.”
With that conviction and without knowing what and how my future will be like, I decided to be a financial advisor and being a new in this industry, I am still struggling.
I didn’t realize that I have been living a routine life of holding a 9-5 job and getting my fixed salary at month end. Coming out on my own allows me to be more productive and I feel the value of my hard work. Overcoming the perception about a financial advisor job has not been easy to tackle as well. There are times that I wake up in the middle of the night and ask myself what I am doing.
I questioned myself if I have placed my clients as well as friend’s trust at priority and work out what is best for them and also how awesome it will be if we could predict our own future. In that way, we could have everything going our way. However, we are not God. We have to persevere on even without knowing what would it be like.
I still don’t have a logical answer for certain events in my life. As far as I am concerned, when I step into the territory of unknown with the bliss of ignorance, I feel a sense of courage that pushes me to venture ahead. Sometimes life presents me with something more amazing than I could imagine
So to all my readers, hold yourself up, be proud of yourself for not knowing the future and the courage to venture on still. The important thing is the energy and the never-ending curiosity into the unknown.
Writer: Kim Ellie