Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Saturday January 13th 2018

Local PMET used to earn $15,000/month now struggling as a cab driver and selling 5-room flat to settle debts

Dear Dr. Lam (PAP MP)

I, Mike Yeo, stand before you at my wits end.

I used to be a Regional Marketing / Sales and Training Manager for a pharmaceutical company and it was effectively a Regional Director’s position. I was earning about $15,000/month then.

I spent almost 10 years in the industry and company, since January 2005 and was made redundant in March 2013.

I immediately made many changes of lifestyle and even went into a repayment mode with several banks and financial institutions and even got the car finance company to take the car back in and to change the shortfall of the loan into a personal loan.

After being unemployed for almost a year, I managed to join an Indian start up as its Business Development Manager and helped it to connect with the doctors I had contacts with and so on.

But after 6 months. the management said that I was too expensive and got rid of me again/ In my previous company, I was earning at least 15,000 per month, in the Indian company, I was only getting $5,000.

So I was willing to downgrade and even start much lower so that I could try and get back a life. I used most of the $5,000 ($4,000 after CPF) to repay my debts and also to feed my family, but once made redundant again, I had no more income and could not make any repayments and or any other significant financial contribution.

So I immediately got a Real Estate Agent license from CEA and also a taxi vocational license to enable me to bring in some income. However sir, I am now working almost 15 hours a day every day just to be able to feed my family and also to repay some of the more priority debts likes power and gas and marketing and so on.

I do not even have money to put my 5 year old child to school and or to pay for any medications.

I can bring in $200-$250 a day, depending on the day and time I spend on the roads, but on average I am bringing in closer to $220. This is because of not being experienced enough to know where to catch passengers and or being able to drive fast enough to make more trips.

I am sure that as I spend more time on the roads, I will improve my earnings. But my cost is $120 for rental and $50 for fuel and not including food and ERP and so on. So I am only confidently bringing home $50 a day. This is a far cry from my previous pay and an even further cry from my last proper job.

So I am in great financial distress and am also facing great pressure from the various banks and institutions to repay my debt.

I am most happy and willing to do so, but I am not earning enough and I am also unable to respond to them in a timely manner as I am on the road in the morning at 5 am and am driving till 7-8pm each day.

And I am not taking any significant breaks. So I am not able to answer phone calls, sometimes even from my own family like when my daughter was having high fever.

I have discussed with my family and am now in the midst of selling my HDB flat. At least the proceeds will be able to be used to repay my debt of almost $100k and then I am able to breath again. I am also very tempted to self declare bankruptcy, but to do this, I have to pay $1,800. If I had that much money, I would have used it to pay some of my bills and debts. Also becoming a bankrupt is also not a viable option as I have a CEA license and this will be null and voided if I am declared a bankrupt.

As a property agent, if I can sell my home and also a few more, earning enough in commissions to pay off a $100,000 debt is a simple matter.

Being a cab driver, even if I were to earn $100 pure profit a day, it will go no where far in paying down any debts.

So sir, I need your help 1) to see if you can speak to CEA to give me an exemption so that even if I am declared or if I self declare myself a bankrupt, I am able to still work as a property agent so that I can at least bring my life back into line, 2) Help me to find a way to rent a HDB rental flat once I sell my 5 room HDB so that we can have a place to stay and I can then rebuild my life, 3) please introduce to me anyone who can help provide financial assistance to a low income family so that they can send their child to school and also to be able to find the funds for self declaration.

As I am driving almost throughout the day (a simple investigation of my car logs or even Comfort Delgro electronic tracking of my taxi) I am almost unable to speak on the phone at most times and also after each shift,

I am sure that you can understand the pure exhaustion I feel. So if you can help, or if your personnel can help, please lets start a line of communications through this email and please help me if you can sir.

I thank you in advance for your kind consideration and any assistance you can provide me and my humble family henceforth.

Kind regards,

Mike Yeo

Editor’s note: we are arranging a session to speak with the writer to explore some viable options for his situation.

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16 Responses to “Local PMET used to earn $15,000/month now struggling as a cab driver and selling 5-room flat to settle debts”

  1. Marcus Lim says:

    I was in a similar situation like you but as soon as my savings were depleting I took on any job so as to sustain my income. Admittedly, it was tough but I persevered. As the saying goes, I may be battered and bruised but never defeated. In your case, I don’t understand. How did you accumulate your debts to a tune of $100k?

  2. Yo yo man says:

    If you had earn 15k a month for 10 years you should have at least near to 1 million saving or invested and earn some good returns on “Any” property. Not unless you are telling me you didn’t save a penny at all thoughtout all these good years??

  3. sam says:

    This dun sum up. If you have been earning 15k pm, where is the saving for all these years? If you cannot even tide over for your jobless days, the problem might lies with you.

    If a 15k pm manager can’t survive without a job, how about pple like us that earn less than 3k per mth?

  4. Dico says:

    Wow, making $15k/month for 10 years and you are $100k in debt???

  5. Tony Voon says:

    Some things I’m a bit confused about.

    He claims he was making $15k a month, but seems to be having great difficulty in clearing debts even though he lives in a HDB flat.

    I mean he must have borrowed really big time to end up at a stage where he needs to sell his HDB, cannot even buy back a small HDB need MP help to rent and worse still ask MP where he can get financial assistance to send his kids to school!

    It would then seem like he borrowed a lot of money into speculative investments or a business which currently is way below loan value and/or he took up a lot of debt for consumption.

    No matter how you see it, his previous income was way above most Singaporeans and it seems like he lived a lifestyle that was significantly above even his then high income level getting into huge debts in the process.

    As a side note, as strange as this may seem to some readers, $15k a month is typical for a Regional Sales Training Manager, so his own claim that he was effectively a “Regional Director” is incorrect. Regional Directors in a pharmaceutical MNC would be paid around 300k+ region.

  6. CJ WONG says:

    Hi Mike,

    I am in quite the same situation like you but while you driving a cab and making so miserable income which is really bad! Please PM me so I might be able to share some of my taxi driving experience with you and I am reaping approximately net S$200 every day.

    • Derrick says:

      Hi CJ WONG.. how to contact you ?

    • Dave says:

      A taxi driver who makes only $200-$250 in gross earnings as an OMO clearly does not have the makings of a good cabby especially given that he is driving for Comfort. Since he is such a lousy cabby, the only way out for him is to only drive during peak demand hours. He should drive from 7 am to 11 am and take a break and resume at 5 pm and drive until 11 pm on weekdays.

  7. Exodus says:

    there is no sympathy from me. Obviously Mike was overpaid and living beyond his means to have racked up such debts. collecting such a salary for years would have enable one to build a sizeable wealth portfolio.

    I guess our employment situation is in structural change where wage equilibrium is the order of the day

  8. alan says:

    If he was really earning $15k monthly and not knowing how to save, then this story Doesnt deserve my sympathy either.

  9. Manson says:

    You make 15,000 a month for 10 years and stay in HDB flat and still own 100,000. Are you a gambler? Than how in this world can this happen. You can always sell your 5 room flat and right size to a 2 room flat. It will bring you at least 200,000k profit. Enough to pay up all your debt.

  10. Texas says:

    “You earn more, you spend more” syndrome …

    Look like the good time is over for you !!!

    Funny, there is inconsistencies in the story … for the S$15K salary !!!

  11. sal says:

    Its not what you earn but what you spend….money management is important, the banks will like you to work for them until you die via interest. Symphaty on you n family going thru this difficult time.

  12. Terence says:

    Hi Mike,

    Hope you are getting better.

    Please write to me and I have something to explore with you on Pharma.


  13. Fabian says:

    You should find yourself a relief driver instead of OMOing. Your income would improve substantially.

  14. Ah gong says:

    Sorry if you have voting for PAP… you only have yourself to be blamed.

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