The Moneymaker: Joshua Tan

Shoes and watches don’t maketh a man, says JOSHUA TAN. The star of Ah Boys to Men ranks the material things that are important to him.


The Moneymaker:

JOSHUA TAN, 25, the actor who shot to fame in the first instalment of the coming-of-age army movie Ah Boys to Men in 2012, but left to study in Melbourne at the height of his success. After completing his media communications degree last year, the Australian citizen and Singapore PR joined the cast of the final ABTM, and is currently filming the cosplay-centric Mandarin movie Young and Fabulous alongside Aloysius Pang, Gurmit Singh and Quan Yifeng.

WHERE HE STAYS: A condo in the western part of Singapore which he shares with his family.

HIS RIDE IS: Taxis. “Unless I’m in a rush, I actually don’t mind taking trains and buses. No, I’m not worried about getting recognised by fans. I’m in a cosplay movie, surely I know how to conceal myself well!” (Laughs

HOW MUCH HE EARNS: “I’ll say I’m an eight out of 10. I get a monthly pay and I’m reasonably happy with what I have. Of course, if you were to compare me with someone who’s earning millions, I’ll definitely be much, much poorer. But I’ve got everything I need, and that’s what’s important. In life, you have to be contented with what you have.”

#10 A designer watch: “I don’t really wear watches, but when I do, it’s usually something simple and nothing noteworthy. Actually, I’m not someone who cares too much for flashy things, like watches, shoes and suits. Yes, I know they’re important, but they’re not my financial priority now. I’ll probably only look at these things later on in life, when I’m more financially stable.”

#9 A wide investment portfolio: “I’m not really interested in stocks and shares, that’s why I don’t want to put any money in it. I won’t dabble in things that I don’t know much about. I’m keen on investing in property, though, and I’ve been doing a lot of research on it.”

#8 Credit cards: “It’s just not my style to own credit cards. Everybody knows I’m a disciplined spender. I prefer using cash in all my transactions ’cos it’s easier to account for it. I’ll make sure I have about $300 in my wallet at any one point. I usually withdraw a bigger amount at the start of the week so that I don’t have to keep making trips to the ATM. Oh dear, is this going to make me more vulnerable to getting robbed?”

#7 A luxury car: “For me, a car is always going to be a depreciating asset. I’m fine with taking public transport. Of course, it’ll be nice to have one but it’s not a need. I’m not in a rush to own one ’cos if I have a day off, taking the bus and train can be quite enjoyable.”

#6 Good food: “My biggest splurges are usually on food ’cos I’m a huge foodie. I go for good food and restaurant meals quite regularly, and each time, I can spend a few hundred bucks. I don’t mind paying for quality. Unfortunately, my current role as a secondary school cosplayer requires me to lose weight. I bulked up and piled on 7kg to play a diver for Ah Boys to Frogmen, but I’ve lost 5kg so far to fit the [current] role better. I’ll be wrapping the shoot soon, and it’s not going to be pretty.” (Laughs)

#5 Gym membership: “Luckily for me, I’ve been sponsored by Evolve Gym and Celebrity Fitness. I’ve always taken good care of my body and made sure I’m fit. It’s tough, but it’s a long-term investment for my well-being! During lull periods, I’ll go five times a week. The past few weeks have been packed with filming for Young and Fabulous, so I haven’t had time to hit the gym.”

#4 A good education: “In this industry, it’s hard to see how useful my degree is, but generally in life, it’s a good investment. I’m happy I completed school. That said, I’ll admit that I did miss out on quite a bit when I was away — the opportunity cost was high. There were some good productions which I could have been on, but wasn’t because I was studying. So yes, there are some regrets.”

#3 A house: “My ultimate goal is to buy a house and I’m working towards that — ideally by this year or next. I’m looking for a condo apartment in the west or central areas, and so far, I’m reasonably on track to forking out a down payment. Why condo? I’m a PR, so I can’t get a HDB. It’s tough! But properties are good investments, and the bonus is that I get to live in it! It’s a win-win situation. I know my parents would be very sad when I move out, but I’m so used to the freedom in Melbourne. I cooked and did the laundry myself when I was there!”

#2 A thriving career: “It’s still too early to say if I’d made the right decision to [interrupt my career by completing my degree], but things have been okay so far. It’s been quite different filming this movie. It’s my first time being apart from director Jack Neo and the boys. It’s quite a challenge too, ’cos it’s in Mandarin, but I’ll say it’s a good challenge!”

#1 Healthy savings: “I set aside 40 per cent of my earnings for savings so that it can go towards funding my property. A big part of ‘being a man’ is to be financially independent. I stopped receiving an allowance from my parents since I was in NS. I paid my own school fees and took care of my own living expenses in Melbourne. I could support myself with the fees I had received from filming projects and other gigs. It’s not easy, especially when I also set aside about 20 per cent to give to my parents. I don’t have much to play around with at the end of it, but it’s worth it when I know it goes towards a bigger financial plan.”

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