30 July 2015

A Taxi Driver Who is Far Richer Than I Am

Drained and tired after a day of non-stop brain work, I was feeling really exhausted. As I waited for a taxi, a fellow colleague appeared, queuing behind me. She said, "So late?"

I paused as I contemplated how to answer her. I was thinking, so was she. But I could only utter a "Huh?" Told you I was tired.

She went on to say, "If we're leaving when the sun is already down, it's late." Couldn't agree more with her definition. I nodded in agreement. We managed to flag down our taxis soon after.

It turned out to be yet another interesting taxi journey. I recognised the driver by his voice. I was pretty sure I had taken his taxi before. When I mentioned this, the driver said enthusiastically, "Yes, I recognised you too!"

With most taxi drivers, they were usually (a) the silent type, (b) the chatty type who talks about anything under the sun, or (c) the anti-PAP type. This gentleman was the chatty type.

He volunteered that he was emigrating to Australia next month. Curious, I asked how much did he need to emigrate. His answer was a cool $5 million, and went on to add that he had $20 million. I was dumbstruck!

"If you have that much money, why are you still driving a taxi?"

"I'm just hardworking." He chuckled in reply. Seems he owned four properties and was collecting rental from three of them. He was a former Forex trader and had made quite a bundle. With more than enough money, he was looking forward to enjoying an easy life in Australia. He had bought a plot of land in Melbourne and was planning to do some farming. That didn't quite sound like an easy life to me. I'm more sedate I guess.

His two kids were grown up and already working. They would be joining him in Australia as well. I wished him well. Guess I am not likely to take his taxi again.

WTF, with $20 million, who needs to work? If I had only one-tenth of that, I would have happily retired. WTF. Ok, I'm obviously envious. I should have asked if he wanted to adopt a godson.

$20 million at 4% would have reaped $800,000 a year in perpetuity. That's tons more than I earn a year. It's enough passive income to buy a new house every other year, even by Singapore standard. It could also fund a retirement for somebody every year. That's a lot of zeroes. WTF.

For another taxi ride story:
Condo, wife, kids and a taxi


Jimmy L said...

Thanks for sharing
Theres many hidden dragons crouching tigers around

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

Forex trader; the institutional type ;)

And properties!

There's more to investing than "just" equities.

Lizardo said...

Jimmy L,

Indeed. Need to master their art.

Lizardo said...


So it seems. But I have a mental block between achieving $2m vs $20m!

cbd said...

Can't be rich on one's salary. By calculation, if one save $3000 a month and work for 30 years x 12 = 360 months. One barely hit $1m in life saving to prepare to retire. Enough for a simple retirement life only.

Lizardo said...

Hi cbd,

On the contrary, assuming the $3000 per month savings is invested at a return of 7% per year for 30 years, that's a portfolio of $3.4 million!

i.e. FV(7%, 30, 36000)

That's a millionaire three times over.