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A Week In Singapore On A $334,665 Joint Income

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a finance director at a family business who has a joint income of $334,665 and spends some of her money this week on a Zegna belt.
Editor's Note: All currency has been converted to USD.
Occupation: Director
Industry: Finance (family business)
Age: 30
Location: Singapore
My Salary: $108,540
My Husband's Salary: $226,125
Net Worth: It is very difficult to give our exact net worth since my husband and I both come from a family business background and we have various investments in shares, bonds, and properties in our name. However, to give an approximate estimate, my net worth would be around $10 million USD (includes shares, bond market, property, and land in my home country). My husband's net worth would be around $5 million USD (this includes shares and bonds). My husband has given me two add-on cards on his primary cards, which I use for daily expenses like household, groceries, helper, utilities, food, etc. (of course I use a rough estimate budget that I would like to spend on household per month). Rent of our house is paid for by my husband. I use my individual account for my personal expenses.
Debt: $0
My Paycheck (1x/month): $9,045
My Husband's Paycheck: (1x/month): $18,843.75
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $8,000 (three-bed with helper room and bathroom, husband pays)
Full-Time Live-In Helper: $750
Utilities: $300
Phone/Internet: $200
Private Pilates Classes: $750
Nutritionist: $220
Co-Working Space: $250
Netflix: $18
Yupp TV: $10
iCloud Storage: $3
Amazon Prime: $2.99
Hotstar Singapore: $6
The Straits Times: $30
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Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes completely. My grandfather and father both went to business school in the U.S., so I was expected to as well. However, I chose a different path: instead of studying abroad, I finished university in my hometown and then went got my MBA in my home country.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
I have been born and brought up in a family business atmosphere, so dinner table conversations were all about business, money, finances, investments, property, and how to make your future secure. However my great grandfather built the business from scratch and my grandfather and his brothers saw money and success only later in life, so I was always taught by my grandfather that we have to always keep our head on our shoulders and be grounded.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was interning at a tax firm. This was part of my curriculum in college.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Not at all. I was blessed to have grown up in a financially secure background. I know my father was always and will always be stressed, however, we were always given everything we wanted.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes! It is weird, but now that I am married and have my own family to start soon, I have become much more cost-effective and knowledgeable about money and finances. I also think a lot about starting to save up for children (though we have none) and how to secure their future, education, house, and marriage.
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At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
Technically I still work in my family business, in my family office, however, I draw a director's salary. I started making my own salary when I worked my ass off for three years, working twelve hours a day, proving to be capable and not only the owner's daughter. I joined the official payroll when I was 25 years old. I have a trust set up by my elders in my name, which as of now is my financial safety net. I also have investments in my name back home. However, I have just started exploring investing my money here in Singapore as my security.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes. Land passed on by my great-grandfather to all his great-grandchildren. I will of course inherit part of my grandfather's share, divided amongst his grandchildren, and then my father's money divided between my sister and me. My husband will inherit all his grandfather's and father's income as he is the only child.

Day One

8 a.m. — My husband, S.'s, alarm rings and it is time to wake up. We chill a bit in bed and cuddle around. Finally, get up and I go to the kitchen to ask our helper, A., to start preparing breakfast. Head back inside the room and freshen up while S. showers and gets ready for work.
9 a.m. — Breakfast is ready. S. is having an egg-white omelet, a piece of toast with butter, and tea. I have some homemade granola, greek yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, a glass of orange juice, and some green tea. We read the newspaper and discuss our plans for the day.
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9:30 a.m. — S. leaves for work and I do a HIIT workout on YouTube at home.
11 a.m. — I head out to my co-working space via Grab (Singapore taxi company, $8). Now that Singapore literally reports no COVID cases, things have opened up and people are back to almost normal life within the island country. I reach the building and get a cup of this really yummy honey chai latte from the coffee place downstairs ($6.50). $14.50
2 p.m. — It has been quite a long morning, working, emails, calls, etc. I realize my tummy is grumbling and take out the lunch A. has packed. She's cooked some lentils, rice, and a green veggie.
4 p.m. — Finally done with the day. Decide to pack up and head home. Take a Grab ($10) to my salon for a quick wash and blow since we're heading out tonight to meet some friends ($64). I Grab back home ($8). $82
6:30 p.m. — S. messages me that he is running late and will meet me directly at the bar. Since Singapore has a very strict rule of no alcohol to be served after 10:30, people now start drinking at 6 to compensate! I start getting ready while watching an episode of Love Island USA. Finally ready to leave and call myself a Grab. $12
7:30 p.m. — Get to the bar and meet S. and our couple friends. We all get two rounds of cocktails each and some finger food. $150
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9 p.m. — We make it to our dinner reservation just in the nick of time. Last order is 9:30, so we quickly order some burrata, a couple of pastas, soup, and a bottle of wine. The food, drink, and conservation are all great ($175). Grab back home ($17). $192
11:30 p.m. — Back home, changed, and in bed. Feeling so full and a bit tipsy, but have some energy to finish an episode of this TV show See on Apple TV. Then finally call it!
Daily Total: $450.50

Day Two

9 a.m. — It is Friday! I wake up a little later than usual, I can feel the alcohol from last night. S. is up and about his daily routine while I laze a bit in bed.
10 a.m. — S. finishes his usual breakfast and heads to work. I have a coffee along with a banana, spinach, and blueberry smoothie, some almonds, and walnuts and then head to my condo gym.
12:30 p.m. — I work out, shower, and spend an hour talking to my mom. We usually end up talking every day since we haven't seen each other for a year, which is unbelievable! Get down to some work, check emails, and finish some calls.
2 p.m. — Done with work, now lunchtime. Eat some salad, veggies, lentils, and rice cooked by A.
3 p.m. — Work is dull today, so I decide to wrap up and do some online shopping. After browsing, I buy a set of new plates, bowls, and mugs from Crate & Barrel ($200). I also get some new stationery and planners for myself from this very cute place called Paper Bunny ($64). $264
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4:30 p.m. — A. makes me some coffee and I have it along with fox nuts and peanuts. Meanwhile, S. calls and we discuss our plan for the evening.
5:30 p.m. — Looks like it is date night tonight! I decide to make some Thai food at home. I make a list of groceries and send A. to the cold storage right next door to get them. She gets some Thai staples like green curry paste, tofu, rice noodles, veggies, raw papaya, and some other staples for the weekend — milk, eggs, butter, bread, yogurt, feta cheese, and watermelon. $84
8:30 p.m. — It is a lovely evening. S. and I are chilling, catching up on our days with gin cocktails. Dinner is raw papaya salad, green curry, Pad Thai noodles, and steamed rice.
10:30 p.m. — We're both happy high from the G&Ts, and S. wants ice cream so we hop over to the 7/11 near our house and buy a whole lot of ice cream. We come home, chill, and finally call it after an episode of See. $16
Daily Total: $364

Day Three

9:30 a.m. — It's a sleep-in Saturday! Decide to have breakfast in bed, watch some crap television, and read the paper. I have a toasted bagel with cream cheese and avocado and a Nespresso. S. has his usual of eggs, tea, and toast.
12 p.m. — We're ready and out of the house — we have a long day ahead of us. I'm taking S. shopping since he rarely gets new clothes. We take a Grab to the mall. $8
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2:30 p.m. — We spend two hours shopping for S. We start with some custom work shirts ($420), shoes from Tods ($900), a few t-shirts from Emporio Armani ($400), and a belt from Zegna ($280). We Grab ($10) back home and eat curry, rice, vegetables, and yogurt for lunch. $2,010
5:30 p.m. — After chilling and lazing for a bit, I quickly hop over to the salon for a wash and blow. We're going to our friends' baby's one-month party so why not?! Wash and blow is $64 and Grabs back and forth are $14. $78
7:30 p.m. — Leave home for our friends' place. Their baby boy is so, so cute! We are allowed to have a maximum of eight people in a space at a time, so she's invited four couples. It is a great night with some amazing food and lovely company.
11:30 p.m. — Back home, we gossip about our night and friends. We love doing that. Then, finally, fall asleep.
Daily Total: $2,096

Day Four

8 a.m. — Rise and shine. We're up early. Feels good to have slept so well and had no alcohol. We decide to skip breakfast and order in our favourite brunch — south Indian. I place an order and then we head for a swim and chill around our condo pool. $34
2 p.m. — We're chilling and lazing. It is A.'s off day so we're contemplating how we should plan the day and if we should order in or go out. Singapore has opened up cinemas and it is quite safe to go, so we finally decide to watch Godzilla vs. Kong at the IMAX theatre followed by dinner at our favourite Japanese place. Sounds like a perfect plan! Tickets booked! Table reservation made!! Super excited! $32
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6 p.m. — At the cinema, it feels so good. This really now feels like a privilege and luxury to watch a movie in the theatres. Get popcorn, Diet Coke, and water ($22). We took a Grab to the cinema ($8). $30
9:15 p.m. — The movie was superb! We then go get Japanese food. S. gets sashimi, a dragon roll, and shrimp, and I get some vegetarian sushi, tofu, salad, and vegetable tempura. We decide to get some wine since we didn't have any yesterday ($200). Grab home ($12). $212
Daily Total: $308

Day Five

8 a.m. — It is Monday! Feeling the Monday blues, however, I'm excited since tonight I am meeting a friend of mine who is just out of a 14-day quarantine after returning from London.
9 a.m. — Breakfast is done. S. heads to work and I leave for my weekly pilates class. Grab to studio. $6
10:30 a.m. — Back home and showered. I get a croissant and coffee from the local bakery ($9). Plan for the week ahead. Fix appts, calls, etc. I order some groceries for the week ($103). $112
2 p.m. — Lunchtime, the usual — rice, curry, veggies, and yogurt cooked by A. Then get back to work.
4:30 p.m. — Done with work, head out for my usual wash and blow pick-me-up ($64) since I am meeting my friend tonight. Grab to the salon ($7). $71
7:30 p.m. — I meet my friend at this rooftop bar overlooking the marina bay. It is a beautiful day. I can't believe she spent 14 days in hotel quarantine. We have a lovely evening over some cocktails and cheese. $150 per person. Grab to bar and back home ($21). $171
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11 p.m. — Back home. S. is already in bed waiting for me to come back. We chit-chat and gossip as per usual. Finally fall asleep.
Daily Total: $360

Day Six

7 a.m. — Up and about. It is going to be a long day today. We quickly change and head out for our joint yoga class.
8:30 a.m. — Back home and showered. Body feels amazing after yoga. Breakfast is some oatmeal with almond milk, apple, and banana, and coffee for me. S has his eggs, toast, and tea.
9:30 a.m. — Prep for a few Zoom meetings today. Feel the urge for a quick Starbucks pick me up, so head to Starbucks next to my house. I get tempted on the way and stop at Zara first. I end up buying two dresses and a pair of lounge pants ($180). Also, yes, a caramel latte ($3.50). $183.50
10:30 a.m. — Time for Zoom meetings! First, my Chief Investment Officer, who looks after all our investments. Then, my tax consultant, and third, the woman who runs my family foundation. We are planning on launching a small hospital for COVID patients and we also want to do something for families of COVID patients.
2:30 p.m. — Finally done!! That was exhausting but so productive. Didn't realize it is already nearly 3, so I head out for some errands.
3:30 p.m. — First stop is to buy a dress for my friend's baby shower next weekend. After browsing, I pick this really nice summery breezy dress from Zimmerman ($350). I then buy another cute dress, this time from Maje ($280). Next stop is to buy my mom some Lululemon workout wear ($400). Meanwhile, I message S. to ask about his dinner plans. Since he entertains clients a lot, he ends up eating out four or five times a week. Tonight, he has no plans! I quickly decide to make something yummy, so I stop at the grocery store for a quick buy ($28). Grab back home ($6). $1,064
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6 p.m. — Drop my stuff home and head out for a quick run before dinner.
8:30 p.m. — In my chill zone. Having some wine and catching up on a book I am struggling to finish. S. gets home and freshens up, pours some wine for himself, and we chill. We have homemade pesto pasta and burrata salad and call it a day.
Daily Total: $1,247.50

Day Seven

7 a.m. — S.'s alarm rings! We had planned to go for an early morning run today, but we snooze instead. We can't get out of our awesome French sheets I bought from Muji last month! They are a game-changer!
9 a.m. — Finally up and time for breakfast. S. has his usual eggs, tea, and toast. I have some coffee along with a green smoothie. S. leaves for work while I contemplate if I want to head to my co-working space or work from home.
10:30 a.m. — Work from home it is! Get down to business, have a few Zoom calls lined up, and go through some reading materials.
2:30 p.m. — That was quite exhausting. Feeling so tired from staring at my screen all day! Finally decide to wrap up. have a quick lunch of some soup with potato cutlets made by A.
4:30 p.m. — Headed for my favourite thing — some pamper time. Time to get not only a wash and blow but also a mani-pedi. I love getting them ($124). I take a Grab to and from the salon ($15). $139
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7:30 p.m. — S. is home early and he just closed a huge deal! Qe're elated! We decide to celebrate by ordering pizza. I have some wine while S. celebrates with his favourite drink, Hibiki. $60
11:30 p.m. — In bed, we're tired and happy. We snuggle for some time and start The Last Kingdom on Netflix. Finally fall asleep.
Daily Total: $199
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