A friend of mine wrote me an email on my birthday recently. In her mail, she asked if I had achieved my goals in life, and what are they? I think it is a rather interesting and apt question to be asking on a birthday, for I feel that is a great time for me to review and stock take on what I have achieved, as well as what I haven’t achieved in life.

It shouldn’t be surprising that my answer to the first question is a ‘no’. However, what’s interesting is probably my answer to the second question: there are a few goals in life that I am working towards, but only a few of them had solidified into something tangible that I am able to have a metric of measurement, one of which being the measure of financial success.

In the past, the idea of being rich has always been a hazy concept I had in my head, even though it has always been a constant goal of mine. The exact definition of what is constitutes as what’s being rich differs with different people, but unlike most people’s expectations where rich means driving a new Ferrari, having a new sailboat or a new Gulfstream jet (I’m not kidding!), my goals are much more modest.

It is to have a fixed income stream from liquid assets that is sufficient to cover my daily expenses.

The figure? $400,000, which I’m expecting to give me at least 5% returns yearly (that isn’t very hard to beat!). The number is nothing magical, but just something I have calculated to allow myself to be modestly independent financially.

I hope nobody gawks at my goal, granted that the returns from $400,000 is probably just be enough to foot for the average yearly rent in Sydney, with a little remaining for the day to day expenses, only if I scrimp. That has been my intention by design, as I am a believer that a person needs the hunger in order to have the motivation to move himself ahead. The money is, and just is, as an insurance to cushion my fall, should life start to get a little rough.

It is also by no coincidence that I that I have chosen a figure because I believe it is something that I should be able to attain. I have been pursuing that goal assiduously for the last couple of years, combining that with prudent investments and a bit of luck, I should be able to get there in the time frame I’ve had in mind, which is hopefully before I hit 30.

Why the rush in having in trying to amass such a huge sum of cash, given that I’m single, able and largely independent? Unlike most people, I have a mother who has spent more than 25 years of her life, raising and funding both my brother and I through university. It is remarkable, given that she is a single mother with only 4 years of primary school education. Granted that she doesn’t have a lot of personal savings, it isn’t too surprising that the sum of money accumulated will also be used in preparation for her later years.

As I currently stand, I am only at a quarter of my way there. With 2 years down the road remaining, it is going to be a formidable goal. I know it won’t be easy, but I am going to try. Hopefully, all that’s remaining is some hard work, prudent fiscal management, a lot of faith and a bit of luck!