In our Dare to Dream series, we invite 12 inspiring individuals who have courageously stepped out of their comfort zones to dream about a future they can truly call their own.
Looking at the gusto with which Jesse and Peggy live their lives, you’d never guess that they’ve both gone through their fair share of challenges. From failed relationships to failed business ventures, the 40-year-old chiropractor and 36-year-old F&B entrepreneur have overcome their personal hurdles. Despite these, they’ve #daredtodream and have continued to persevere in various spheres as a unit.
Firm believers that there’s nothing wrong with getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, this power duo share how they ended up doing what they’re doing today, their individual (and collective) journeys with money, as well as some lessons and tips they’ve learned along the way.
What does your dream future look like?
Jesse: I don’t want to work and save my life to live another day. You cannot save your life, you only spend it. It’s important for me to have a career that allows me to be mobile and to have enough money to travel freely. Given that, I know that my future must include financial and time freedom.
Peggy: My vision of my dream future is being in a house that is not too far away from the beach. I envision starting my day in the morning with a cup of coffee. I have errands to run, places to go, friends to meet up with, and a job – but ideally, I would like for my work to help other people and to give back to society. I’d also love to have free time to do activities that I like, and still have the freedom (both financially and with my time) to be creative and free-spirited.
Peggy Chang, 36, F&B entrepreneur
What was your financial situation growing up?
J: My family was definitely on the lower end of the socio-economic status so we were always struggling with money. We were (living) on a month-to-month situation so saving and investing was never on the table. I was never taught about financial health or saving. What I did learn from my parents, though, is the importance of being resourceful. I got my first job when I was only ten years old and worked most summers throughout school.
P: Like Jesse, I came from a very humble background. My dad was a bus driver for 20 years and our family wasn’t wealthy by any means. I grew up in a one-room flat together with my grandparents and 6 other uncles and aunties; 9 people in a flat with only one bedroom and one toilet.
I was actually the first in my family to get a degree. I also remember my aunts putting money in for a fixed deposit account when I was younger; I think that was their idea of saving money or “making money grow”. Needless to say, the whole idea of investing or “making money grow” was completely foreign to me until I was much older.
When did you first learn about the importance of money and health and how do you think that impacted your relationship with it?
J: I actually had/have a terrible relationship with money and I’m only slowly starting to learn the importance of saving. Health, on the other hand, has always been an easy thing since it has always been a way of life (and part of) my livelihood.
P: I have never been the most financially-savvy person, nor the most health/fitness conscious person. But this changed in my early 30s. My interest in wellness and fitness started about 5 years ago when I started having bouts of panic and anxiety attacks. I did some research and learnt more about the benefits of yoga and meditation. I wanted to be physically stronger so that I could attempt more physically demanding yoga asanas. I’m definitely much stronger now as compared to my early twenties.
What lessons have you learned, as a couple, in regard to financial health?
J: I’d say we had to learn to develop a way to talk about finances comfortably as a couple. It’s so easy to shy away from asking the hard questions. While I know finances aren’t the most important thing or central to our relationship, it’s still necessary to talk about things like debt and financial obligations from my previous marriage. The more comfortable you get talking about the uncomfortable, the better prepared you are to face what the future might bring.
What advice, then, do you have for the younger generation or other young working professionals?
J: Remember that it doesn’t matter how small. But try to set something aside each month. Many think you need a lot of money to start investing but that isn’t true. For example, $10 a month might seem insignificant but just start by putting that amount into something… it’ll build momentum that will eventually lead to something else. This is advice I need to follow myself.
P: I’d say to save for things that are absolutely non-negotiable. For example, retirement, your children’s education, the potential illness you might have, etc. These are things that you know are there and things you can’t evade. Everyone will have different priorities, naturally, so come up with what yours are. Other things, like travelling or eating out… they aren’t things you can’t live without so do your best to spend within your means. Sounds obvious, but don’t spend money you haven’t earned.
Jesse Timm, 40, chiropractor
Complete this sentence: “My favourite Autumn app feature to support me in being #futurefit is….”
J: Our favourite Autumn app feature is the Finance Dashboard. It’s nice to see our accounts collated in one spot so we can get a quick look at where we are easily. What you track grows and it’s easier to have a good relationship with money if you know exactly where you are.
What are little steps our audience can take today to move towards their dream future?
J: Do something small every day in an area of your life you’d like to improve. It really doesn’t matter how small. It all adds up.
P: First, hold yourself accountable for every action or decision you make. Even with the smallest things… like waking up earlier, eating better, standing up for yourself, not feeling pressured to do things you don’t want. No one else has more power over your life (and lifestyle) than yourself. Second, start really keeping track of exactly how much and where your money goes once that paycheck comes in. Start saving; don’t just save hard, but learn to save smart. Third, start moving, and never stop being active.
Follow Jesse’s and Peggy’s #DaretoDream journeys on our socials. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity. Enjoyed this article? Take your little step today – write your dream pledge card for 2022 here.