What she really ditched her Chanel for

Is growing your wealth as simple as replacing your Chanel bag with Coach, or even a canvas tote? This expert tells us: Don’t save on what you love


The moneymaker: Ellie Kim, 42, is a former forex broker who left her cushy job to become a financial advisor and recently wrote her first book, Why I Ditched My Chanel. In the book, Kim shares the reasons for her lifestyle changes, as well as tips for identifying what you value in order to plan for the future. The Korean relocated 17 years ago, and now lives here with her Singaporean husband and two children.

Home is: A four-bedroom condo in Bukit Timah with her husband, kids and her in-laws.

Her ride is: “When I drive, I share my father-in-law’s Honda Jazz. But other than that, I love public transport in Singapore. The MRT is okay!”

What’s in her wallet: Other than practical essentials like a fuel card, and just a couple of credit cards, Ellie also carries with her a colour chart. It’s to match her skin tone “for whenever [I buy] clothes” . “If I wear very bright colours, my face looks very dull.”

8 DAYS: Did you really ditch your Chanel?
ELLIE KIM: I still desire Chanel. I love to have luxury goods and the craftsmanship [behind it]. But it’s not a priority anymore. What I regret most is not saving all my bonuses. I could be much richer. Every bonus season I’d go shopping. Now [that I’ve left full-time work], in my mind I’m always shopping (laughs). I really want a Boy Chanel. Now I just go for online sales, maybe for Chinese New Year, or my birthday. Justified spending.

Why the lifestyle change?
As a forex broker, I was always in the office. At the time I often thought, I have a husband, two wonderful kids, my boss loves me, I have a well-paying job. I’m okay. But why do I feel a void? The buying experience of [something aspirational, like] Chanel made me realise that I’m chasing something that’s not really relevant to me. It didn’t make me happy. I read about the new mid-life, about people who’ve made a name for themselves, and then try to find some purpose in their life. I went through that phase.

Are we too caught up yearning for the high life?
Why I Ditched My Chanel comes from that. When we know what is valued most in our life, we don’t need that much of the high life. We should look at what makes us happy. Surprisingly when I ask clients these questions: How much do you think you need when you retire? What kind of lifestyle do you want to lead when you retire? Nobody can give me a clear answer.

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