As a Bioprocess Engineer with Shiok Meats — a cell-based meat and seafood company — Xavier Leow works on the R&D and engineering aspects of bringing delicious and sustainable seafood to our tables.
While Xavier is passionate about his area of work, there are other dreams that he holds dear too.
A dog-lover since young, Xavier takes a pet grooming course on Saturdays together with his girlfriend.
Learning grooming techniques, including styling and pedicures, opened his eyes towards the possibility of doing it full-time in the future. His friends also trust him enough with their pets to accept free grooming sessions, allowing him to put his skills to the test.
In the long term, he sees himself becoming more involved in different aspects of the pet industry.
From YOLO-ing to planning for the future
Actively making plans for his life wasn’t always second nature to him. In Xavier’s own words, he used to have a ‘you-only-live-once’ mindset, like many young Singaporeans.
But when his mom passed away a few years ago, he had to step up. Handling her assets was new to him, but he eventually realised how much she had saved over the years. This sparked a personal interest to develop an understanding for personal finance and future-planning.
Even though Xavier has only been working for four years, he has started planning for his retirement to ensure a peace of mind when he reaches his golden years, and in order not to burden his future kids. With this in mind, he makes prudent financial decisions for upcoming milestones, such as planning for his wedding, and buying his own house.
And of course, working towards funding his pet-grooming dreams.
From sceptic to advocate
Before Xavier started working, he was sceptical about CPF. He was indignant that a percentage of his monthly pay went into his CPF accounts and did not understand why he had to wait for so many years before he could get his money back, amongst others. But once he started working, he decided to make an effort to understand CPF better.
After getting a deeper understanding of the various ways in which CPF benefits him, he has become a CPF volunteer who enjoys educating others about financial planning.
“I believe everyone should actually take time to learn the facts about CPF, and pass on that knowledge to others who need it.”
Xavier has also started taking active steps to secure his future, by investing his Ordinary Account (OA) savings through the CPF Investment Schemes (CPFIS) and Endowus.
What does it mean to live your dream life?
While one’s life’s purpose may not be apparent from the very start, Xavier encourages others to spend time thinking of the things they are passionate about. In the meantime, they can start to save and make prudent financial decisions that will help fund that purpose. After which, they will be able to pursue it whole-heartedly without being held back by financial considerations.
Xavier also emphasises the importance of being flexible when making plans in the pursuit of personal goals. Plan A may not work, so it’s good to have a plan B, and plan C, and not lose faith along the way.
Xavier feels that young Singaporeans shouldn’t solely chase passions and turn their backs on financial success. “While working, we are all trading time, blood, sweat and tears just for a paycheque. But that paycheque helps to secure our financial future, and at the same time support our dreams.” That mindset has fuelled his ability to take pet-grooming classes every week without worry.
Rather than chasing money and status, Xavier aspires to impact the lives of others, as he finds that giving connects people, and makes them happier and healthier. Furthermore, giving goes beyond money, as help can come in the form of sharing time or ideas. That is why Xavier chose to be a CPF volunteer and help people around him understand more about financial planning.
“Instead of the typical Singaporean Dream, I will say success for me is a state where I am able to contribute to the less fortunate and ensure my loved ones are taken care of, all while making sure I have made adequate plans for my own future where I won’t add burdens to my loved ones.
It is not about what I have achieved or gained, but what I have given.”
This article is contributed by CPF Board.