From The Straits Times    |

This year’s Her World Good Men campaign shines the spotlight on 12 meneach of them influential leaders in their respective fields with the social media followings to prove it.

He Ruiming is one of two content creators of The Woke Salaryman (@thewokesalaryman), which creates finance-oriented content relevant to Singaporeans. The page first went viral after he penned a piece about how he saved $100,000 before the age of 30. Here are some things to know about the 32-year-old.

His plunge into running The Woke Salaryman was a “boring and prudent” decision
The Woke Salaryman was started in 2019. We decided to quit our jobs and run it full-time after we realised that it was getting a lot of traction – it’s only so often in life that you get to create something of your own and have it take off. I also had a good amount of money saved up, so it wasn’t like I was being a daredevil.”

He started the page because he wanted to show that, with enough effort, boring things can be interesting
“Nothing can be more boring than personal finance, and we wanted to show that it can be interesting with the right type of storytelling and content strategy. We want to ‘wake’ people up about their financial situation.”

The topics he writes about are inspired by his experiences
“When I was an employee, I’d think to myself, ‘I work so hard, but my boss is the one who gets all the profit’. But your boss is actually taking a risk on you – it’s two-way. It’s hard for your boss to respect you when you guys don’t see things on the same level.”

He’s a cycling enthusiast
“I’ll be going to Germany for six weeks [note: he is currently in the midst of the trip] and will be bringing my bicycle along.  I’ll be cycling around the border of Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and France alone. I actually really love cycling because it’s a cheap form of transport and shows you what you can do without a lot of money.”

His love for the great outdoors inspires the way he views money
“When you go outdoors, you realise that you don’t need a lot of money to live and learn to live with less. I think it’s very easy to control your spending with that understanding. However, it’s about adaptation. You wouldn’t bring like a hammock to a place where there are no trees, and since we live in a city, we have to adapt to what is required of us to survive, which is money.”

He sees every $100,000 he saves as a month of not having to work
“I took three years to save my first $100,000 and two years for the next one. It then got faster and faster. I always told myself that every $100,000 represents one month that I don’t have to work, because if I invest a that amount and it generates, say, $4,000, that’s someone’s salary right? So if I do that six times, I can not work for half a year. And if I do that 12 times, I don’t need work for a whole year.”

He wasn’t always a saver
“My dad would give me an allowance every month but I’d always have nothing left two weeks in. And in the past, there was a minimum withdrawal of $20 at the ATM. I remember having to calculate my withdrawals because I couldn’t take out the cash if there was only $19 left. I’d be super pissed with myself whenever that happened.”

Polyester and viscose jacket, and matching trousers, Selected Homme. Cotton T-shirt, leather shoes and watch, Ruiming’s own

He strongly believes that comparison is the thief of joy
“Comparing will only lead one down a path of endless comparison. Like, those with one million dollars will be envious of those with three million, and those with three million will be envious of those with 10 million. And those with 10 million will be like, ‘Wow, there are billionaires out there.'”

And responds to angry comments with empathy
“Some people will say things like, ‘How can you say this? So many issues are systemic.’ I understand that the world is an unfair place, so I try to have empathy – I don’t actually know what they’re going through. I usually try to diffuse the situation with positivity, and am proud to say that I’ve ‘converted’ some haters.

He’s still “transitioning into being comfortable with spending money”
“I still feel guilty when I buy anything that costs more than three digits. When I bought a Gopro, I was like, ‘I spent so much this month. How could I be so reckless?’ But then, I have to remind myself that I can actually afford it.”

Photography: Veronica Tay
Art direction: Ray Ticsay
Styling: Lauren Alexa
Hair and grooming: Angel Gwee, using Nudestix & Davines; Zoel Tee, using Estee Lauder & Kevin. Murphy

A version of this story first appeared in the November 2021 issue of Her World.

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