Was looking at Facebook Memories – On This Day. It’s been an exhilarating ride. 12 years ago, I graduated from SMU. 1 year ago, I was at The Peak gala dinner.

Almost 7/8 years ago, I took the biggest loan of my life for my first HDB. It’s our first family home. A home that I love, have lots of fond memories and … am very proud of. 

Home cooked meal

It may not be much to some… but it was an uphill climb, like most experienced, to have your first property. It was the best and worst of times. 

What I remember: Working 8 am to 11 pm every single day in the bank, rushing to catch the 1127 pm last MRT home to Tampines. Asking my fellow colleagues’ if they can pitch to me while I record them down, listening to their calls to clients and writing down things I should learn. On the way home in the train, I will rehearse my pitches and getting weird stares. Sometimes, I practised 50x on my own at night,… & still messed it up while I pitched to my own clients. (I’m a slow learner booo) 

I remember being laughed at as I had no experience and knowledge and told in my face, over and over again that I would fail. I remember believing I am not good enough and often hide in toilets to cry by myself. Then, forcing myself to put on a brave front and convincing myself, “It’s worse if you don’t try. You’ll never forgive yourself. At least if you fail, fail gloriously. “

I remember losing a lot of social circles as I prioritised my work (my bad). I stopped partying (was a party animal) and hanging out. Missed my best friends hen’s trip and hated myself; until today, it had such a profound effect on me that I NEVER miss an important occasion for the people I love. I remember all the friends I let down and lost over the years… those are the ones I miss and regret. 

I remember that I lived, loved & travelled well and life was glorious. I felt empowered, filled with opportunities and with hard work, the whole world is ahead of me.

I remember my first Europe trip and how I felt it was really expensive ($8k) but told myself that this is my reward. I had the most memorable 2 weeks with my cousin. We experienced Paris, Amsterdam & Antwerp… and I was constantly awestruck at how otherworldly & magical everything is.

What I don’t remember: Feeling bitter, offended or sorry. I don’t remember having to make sacrifices between saving most money or rewarding myself. I was so consumed by my goal of having my first property before 30… that everything else seems needless. 

It was an extraordinary time of growth and hard lessons. But it was remarkably beautiful. I  remember how simple life was… and how it is always meant to be. Family, good friends, laughter, meals together, exploring the world… & working hard for your dreams. 

This is probably the first meal my mom cooked in our first family home. I’ve always loved both my parents’ cooking. It makes me feel close to them since I didn’t grow up with them. I truly appreciate the efforts into making a meal. Even today, given the choice between an expensive meal or my mom cooking me fried eggs, I will always choose the fried egg. #truestory 

Probably why I show my care to people through food. Food is my love language.  😅 Maybe that’s why I am in F&B now because my current work is a combination of everything I love – finance, food and great people.

Sometimes, life works in the strangest ways… and maybe, we are all meant to struggle before finding our footing. 🙂 

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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