A Singaporean without money woes is like Paris Hilton without makeup. While there are many money issues both men and women love to gripe about, I’ve noticed that there are money regrets unique to the brave men who defend our country, such as spending too much on women and alcohol… oops. I quizzed a bunch of Singaporean men to identify some of these money regrets that most women wouldn’t expect.
1. Spending too much to impress women
Each time a Singaporean guy tells me he would have girls falling over him if only he drove a Ferrari, I die a little inside. Whether the grasping material girl is really the norm or just a mythological beast, many guys here react by whipping out their wallets to impress her—and then regret it a few years down the road.
Ian, a 32-year-old insurance agent, used to spend more than $1,000 a month on previous girlfriends. Expensive nights out at clubs like Ku De Ta and dinners at fancy restaurants were the norm. Once, at the age of 23, he even took a girl he had just met a month ago on an all-expenses paid resort holiday to Bali.
He says, “It’s hard to show women a good time without money. Everyone wants to enjoy the finer things in life. My main regret is that I spent a lot on the wrong women.”
Arnold, who is 32 and self-employed, concurs, looking back at a past long-term relationship with a grimace. “My ex-girlfriend was the kind of person who didn’t want to live in an HDB flat after getting married, and she didn’t like to eat at hawker centres, either. I spent thousands on her over a few years, not only on restaurant meals but also a diamond ring. Bear in mind that this was when I was a university student and didn’t have much money.”
2 .Spending too much on vices
While you’ll see just as many women as men living it up on a Friday night, men tend to have more regrets about spending on “vices” (I use the term loosely) like alcohol, cigarettes and gambling.
Ziming, a 32-year-old bank executive, used to make a few trips a year to Dongguan in China, a city that’s famed for its KTV lounges and massage parlours. A week of debauchery there would cost him about $2,000 to $4,000.
We’re not trying to cast judgment on activities of this sort, but many of the men we spoke to look back on their crazier days and cringe at the amount of money they spent.
Even men with relatively family-friendly habits feel a pinch of regret at times. Hamid, a 31-year-old architect, used to smoke three packs of cigarettes a week.
“Sometimes when I add up all the money I spent over my ten years of being a smoker, I feel really guilty. I think the amount should be around $15,000!” he says.
3. Losing money through foolish investments
While women tend to be more conservative investors than men, that also means they aren’t as likely to get duped by bogus investment schemes or lose all their money due to a bad trade.
And while not all men throw their money into unsound investments, those who do cite these instances of poor foresight as a top regret.
Ten years ago, Arnold and several of his friends became victims of Studiotraffic, a site that had users deposit money into an online account and then paid them 1% of the deposited amount each day in exchange for watching ads online. When the (obviously fraudulent) site shut down without warning, Arnold lost a few thousand dollars.
The same can be said of Mr Phua, a taxi driver in his late 60s, whose investments in the past have included buying equity in his friends’ businesses and purchasing land in Indonesia. While he considers himself comfortable enough to survive financially today, he does regret not being a wiser investor.
“Some of my friends made very good investments when they were younger and now they are all retired, some even living in big houses,” he says. If I had known what to invest in in the past, I might not be driving a taxi today.”
Are you a man with a money regret to share with us? Let us know what it is in the comments!