Go Bankrupt Before You Turn 30

For many years before leaving for Japan, I’ve heard and read countless inspirational quotes, books, music and what not. I’ve probably said it before but Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life was one major push factor that brought me to Japan.

It’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I’m alive

The next best advice I got?

 Go bankrupt before you turn 30.

Most college graduates probably step into the “real world” at around 22 years of age. For me, with polytechnic education and conscription prior to college, I only started my adult worklife at 25. I’m not afraid to say I managed to save over $30k in 2 years and I wasn’t afraid to lose it all. Well, to be honest, I was afraid. Part of the Singapore ideology was deeply embedded in me without my conscious knowledge of it.

Get a degree -> Get a good job -> Save money -> Get married -> Have children -> Buy an HDB -> Retire -> Die
Stability is king. Play safe. Don’t take risks.

Yes, I wanted to save that money but a part of me also wanted to realise my dream. I think about spending all my savings and that I’d have to start saving all over again, I felt reluctant to part with it. How long is it going to take me to save that amount again? I’m not getting any younger. But, at 27, I wasn’t that old either. I remembered then that I read somewhere to go bankrupt before turning 30 and so I did.

Before 30, even if you’re bankrupt, you still have a lot of time to make a comeback. If there are people going for their dreams after 30, why shouldn’t a 27-year-old me do the same? I’ve got a friend who only started working this year at age 30 and he’s in a $100k debt just to work in Japan but his ultimate aim is to be in Tokyo, so he recently quit his job in Miyagi just so he could move to Tokyo. All these without having secured a job here first. Some people think he’s crazy but he’s a bigger dreamer than I am. His perserverance to do what it takes is partly what keeps me going.

It is not in human nature to be afraid to go for their dreams. What we are all afraid of is losing what we already have.

Don’t be. Especially if you’re not even 30.

Go bankrupt before you are.

All the cool things happen when you do things that are not the automatic next step.


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