My foreign boss's 'die poor' mentality surprises me

July 1, 2024 | 05:10 pm PT
My foreign boss's 'die poor' mentality surprises me
My foreign boss lives frugally despite having high income. Illustration photo by Pexels
It baffles me that my foreign boss does not indulge in houses and cars, opting to rent or live in employer-provided housing, despite having a sky-high income.

I was born and raised in a traditional family in a remote province in the northwest of Vietnam. The overall mindset of my generation, as evidenced through the life journeys of my grandparents, parents, and older siblings, is to focus on establishing a career, accumulating wealth, and settling down."

"Buy a buffalo, get married, build a house" were the three major life goals according to rural beliefs. This deeply ingrained mindset persists among those of us born in the 1980s. These goals are translated into modern times as starting a family, owning a house, buying a car, and getting married. While attainable, achieving these often requires a lifetime of hard work.

My boss, a diligent and professional worker, is married to a Vietnamese wife and has a young child. I found it intriguing because for many years, my boss has not bought a house or a car but has lived in a rented house or company-provided accommodation. Despite making bank as a foreigner, he is still riding a motorbike.

Every year, he takes his wife and child on a few trips to new destinations around the world. Curious, I asked him why he enjoys such an unstable lifestyle.

"Why not buy a house or a car and save money for your children's future?" I questioned.

His answer made me realize many things. He said his life goal is very simple: to work and enjoy every moment of life so he would not have any regrets. "We come into this life not just to work, eat, and sleep every day. No one gets to choose where or when they are born, but they do get to choose their own way of living," he explained.

He said he wishes to "die poor," leaving behind no possessions. His children will get an education, but they must grow up and fend for themselves, he said. He and his wife shared the same minimalist mindset. They do not buy fixed assets like houses or cars and only set aside enough money as risk allowances when they get old.

To him, each passing day is not just another hard-working day, but also a day for his family to experience new things. Working is a means to an end, not the end itself, he said. He does not wait until old age to enjoy or discover the wonders of this world, nor does he expect his children to take care of his needs and wants later on.

Hearing his answer, I suddenly realized many things I had never thought about before regarding life goals.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

Reader Dinh Thi Thu Ha

*This opinion was translated into English by AI. Readers’ views are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress’ viewpoints.

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