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When Ken was queuing up for his usual cup of iced latte, a former colleague, Johan patted on his back.

Johan: ‘Ken, sudah lama tak jumpa. How are you, bro?’ 

Ken: ‘I’m fine.’ Jokingly, he asked: ‘Are you here for a drink?’ 

Johan: ‘Eh … Tak ada lah. I’m still fasting, bro.’ 

They later found a quiet spot and began to catch up. Like Ken, Johan was just killing time as his wife Atiqah went shopping. 


Ken: ‘Kerja mana sekarang?’ 

Johan: ‘The same company that you left some years ago.’ 

Ken: ‘How’s life?’ 

Johan: ‘Sama je, nothing special. I’m just surviving only. Not like you bro, sudah kaya raya. Haha …‘
Ken: ‘Haha … Where got? Belum sampai lagi. Now, I’m still inching one step at a time towards financial independence.’ 

Johan: ‘Wow … that’s impressive. Ken, if you don’t mind me asking, ‘How does a person attain financial independence?’ Personally, I always admire one who has achieved it and wish that I could be financially free someday in the future.’ 

Johan asked a valid question. Like most working adults, Johan is appreciative of the virtues of financial planning. But, he is clueless on how to start planning for his finances. 

Ken: ‘I believe there are many ways of one achieving financial independence. As for me, I think the first step is to get ourselves a financial plan. In a way, it’s kind of like Waze.’ 

Ken continued: ‘For instance, we use Waze to direct us from our current location to our desired destination. Similarly, a financial plan is one that directs us from where we are financially to where we want to be in the future?

Impressed, Johan commented: ‘Wow … I’ve never see it that way. You really do know a thing or two about financial stuff. ’ 

Johan asked: ‘Ken, what’s in a financial plan?’ 

Ken: ‘Usually, it consists of three things: Wealth Preservation, Wealth Protection and Wealth Accumulation.’ 

Pillar #1: Wealth Preservation 

Johan: ‘So, the first one is wealth preservation. What is it all about?’ 

Ken: ‘It’s about saving money. It’s good to have spare cash for a rainy day while earning some interest if they are not used.’ 

Johan: ‘Good Idea. Two questions, bro. First, what’s the point of saving money if Ringgit keeps on dropping? Second, I’m a Muslim. I’m not into conventional FDs.
You know what I’m saying.’ 

Ken: ‘Good that you’d pointed out. Recently, I’d spoken to Ramli, Bank Manager of UOB Malaysia. He has briefly introduced me to three Islamic accounts, which I think, may be suitable for you.’ 

Johan: ‘Really … What are they?’

Ken: ‘The three accounts have different features. So, it depends on your reasons for opening the accounts. They are: 

  1. FD Plus-i
    It’s UOB Malaysia’s Islamic FD account where its capital is guaranteed, offers fixed competitive profit rate, and more importantly, it credits in profits into your savings account on a monthly basis – not upon its FD’s maturity. So, if you are into getting higher profit rates and stable income for your savings, then, you may consider FD Plus-i.


  2. Foreign Currency Call Account-i
    It protects you from a fall in Ringgit’s value against major currencies of the world. Through FCCA-i, you may save in 11 different key currencies. To name a few, they include AUD, SGD, USD, EUR, and Sterling Pound. The full list of its accepted currencies is accessible on the Bank’s website. 


  3. ProSave Account-i
    It’s a Shariah-compliant savings account which comes with as much as RM 10,000 in complimentary takaful coverage that covers death, total permanent disability, and 36 critical illnesses. How often do you enjoy takaful coverages by just opening a savings account in Malaysia? 

Johan: ‘Wow, they all look impressive to me! Looks like I need to check them out in greater detail. I think I might need to speak to Ramli after this.’ 

Ken: ‘Great, I’ll pass you Ramli’s contact details to you later. As for now, are you ready to find out the next pillar needed in your financial plan?’

Johan: ‘Absolutely … What is it?’ 


Pillar #2: Wealth Protection 

Ken: ‘It’s protection plan. Since you’re a Muslim, I think it’s good that you are covered with takaful because you have Atiqah and the both of you have children. It is to safeguard their financial future.’ 

Johan: ‘So, what does UOB Malaysia have to offer in terms of takaful?’ 

Ken: ‘Here’s what I know. They have a product known as Smart Secure Takaful underwritten by Prudential BSN Takaful Berhad.  It has a number of pretty interesting features such as: 

  1. Annual Cash Payouts
    It’s payable after the end of 2nd certificate term until its policy expires. The amount payable is explained in greater detail here.


  2. No Medical Examination
    Fast and hassle-free application to enjoy as much as RM 300,000 per life in Basic Sum Coverage via the plan’s Guaranteed Issuance Offer (GIO).


  3. Wealth Distribution via Hibah
    Your beneficiaries would enjoy full rights over the Hibah. Thus, it allows them to receive their Hibah as fast as 14 days, saving them from going through a prolonged inheritance procedures.

Johan: ‘Noted. I haven’t given much thought about this for a while now. I think, it would be great to start reflecting on this.’ 

Ken: ‘Awesome. Pillar #2 is about you building a defensive wall to safeguard the financial future of your family.’ 

Johan: ‘Then, what about Pillar #3?’ 

Pillar #3: Wealth Accumulation 

Ken: ‘Pillar #3 is about going on the offence. It’s about investing your money for growth, hence, allowing you and Atiqah to enjoy a sustainable and comfortable lifestyle upon your retirement.’ 

Johan: ‘Great! Defence and Offence. Sounds like football to me.’ 

Ken: ‘Well yes, in a way, having a financial plan is likened to having a formation planned out before a football game. It is similar to deciding how many strikers, midfielders, and defenders and who you would like to put in before the start of the match. If you view it that way, then, planning your finances would be a lot more fun.’ 

Johan: ‘But … there’s one problem. I don’t know how to invest. Is there anyone who can invest on behalf of me?’ 

Ken: ‘I think, if you are the type who is not interested in learning about investing or have little time to manage your portfolio, but yet, wish to invest in either a local or global fund, then, you may choose to invest in a Shariah-compliant unit trust fund. There are plenty of funds for you to choose from.’ 

Ken continued: ‘For UOB Malaysia, they have a total of 17 Shariah-compliant Unit Trust funds, inclusive of the new United-i Global Balance Fund from UOB Asset Management (Malaysia) Berhad.’ 

Johan: ‘How do I choose which of these funds to invest in?’ 

Ken: ‘You may start by completing their proprietary My Wealth Planner form to better understand your risk tolerance and investment objectives. You can choose one or more funds according to your investment profile.’ 

Here Comes the Wife … 

One hour later, Atiqah walked into the cafe loaded with shopping goods. 


Atiqah: ‘Ken, lama tak jumpa. How are you doing?’ 

Ken: ‘Great!’ 

Johan: ‘Sayang … I was just talking to Ken and he has given me plenty of useful financial advices.’ 

Atiqah: ‘Really … I bet you guys had a great time just now.’ 

Ken: ‘We did.’ 

Johan: ‘Bro, how do I get in touch with Ramli, the Bank Manager?’ 

Ken shared Ramli’s contact details and the link to UOB Malaysia’s full suite of Islamic Wealth Management Solutions for his reference. It was nearly 5 p.m. Johan and Atiqah needed to prepare dinner to break their fast. Thus, they parted ways and Ken headed home fulfilled after a nice catch-up with Johan. 

Disclaimer: The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this article are fictitious to demonstrate UOB’s latest product offering. 

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Question: 

Hi, I’m Lisa. I intend to find myself a personal residence. Lately, I had discovered a condominium known as the Waterfront. It is one of the nicest places to live in Kota Kemuning, a matured township in the Klang Valley. 

The asking price of a 980 sq. ft. unit at the Waterfront is around RM 500,000. It consists of 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Its maintenance fee is presently set at RM 0.25 psf. 

The rental prices of units measuring 980 sq. ft. at the Waterfront are now being advertised at RM 1,500 – RM 1,800 a month. 

My question is – Should I buy or rent a unit at the Waterfront? 

Answer: 

I believe the answer lies with the individual – Lisa. 

Is it suitable for Lisa to buy her own home or rent it? 

In this article, I’ll share 4 key factors where Lisa can consider before making her final decision. They are as follows: 

1. Affordability 

Here, I’ll tabulate how much Lisa needs to afford a unit at the Waterfront which is now priced at RM 500,000. Let’s assume that Lisa is below 35 years old and is planning to finance her home purchase through 10% in downpayment and 90% in mortgage at an interest rate of 4.5% per annum. 

Lisa may need to prepare the following in initial capital outlay: 

No.

Expense Items to Prepare For

Estimated Amount (RM)

1

10% Down Payment

50,000

2

SPA Legal Fees

3,950

3

SPA Stamp Duty

9,000

4

Loan Facilities Legal Fees

3,600

5

Loan Stamp Duty

2,250

6

Valuation Fees

1,050

7

Renovation & Furnishing Expenses 

(Max: 10% of Property Price)

50,000

Lisa’s Total Maximum Initial Capital Outlay

119,850

In addition, her mortgage payment works out to be RM 2,129 per month where RM 1,573 will be her interest payments to the bank. The balance of RM 556 will be the repayment of her loan principal. 

Let’s assume that local banks adopt a maximum debt-service ratio (DSR) of 60% for a borrower. Hence, Lisa would need to earn at least, RM 3,550 to qualify for the mortgage. But, if Lisa has existing debts such as car loans, credit card debts, personal loans … etc, then, Lisa would need a higher monthly income to qualify for her mortgage. 

Min Monthly Income x Max DSR = Mortgage Payments 

RM 3,550 x 60% = RM 2,129

Personally, on the safe side, it is safer to cap your DSR at 30%. Thus, if Lisa does not have any outstanding debt, the minimum amount of income needed works out to be RM 7,100. But, if let us say, Lisa has a car loan instalment of RM 1,000 per month, then, the minimum income needed would be RM 10,500 a month. 

In brief, if Lisa does not earn at least, RM 7,000 a month and does not have RM 150,000 in spare cash-in-hand (initial capital outlay + 1-year buffer of mortgage payments), then, Lisa has no choice but to rent the unit. 

Affordability Measures

Cash-in-Hand

Minimum Monthly Income

Criteria

RM 150,000

RM 7,000 (assuming no debt)

#2: Life Goals … 

If Lisa has fulfilled both the affordability measures stated above, she is qualified to choose – to buy or to rent. 

Supposedly, Lisa has RM 150,000 in savings and is earning RM 7,000 in monthly income. She chooses to buy her unit at the Waterfront, thus, spent RM 120,000 in initial capital outlay, leaving behind RM 30,000. If her expenses had grown to RM 5,000 per month (inclusive of the mortgage payment), then, her RM 30,000 would only last her for 6 months if she is to lose her source of income. 

In other words, Lisa cannot afford to stop working after buying her home. 

But, if Lisa chooses to rent the unit at RM 1,700 a month, she would retain a big chunk of her RM 150,000, enabling her to pay monthly rent comfortably for 6-7 years. If Lisa’s monthly expenses is RM 5,000 (inclusive of rent), the amount will be sufficient to last her for 2.5 years if Lisa loses her source of income. 

Thus, Lisa will be more flexible to take a break, make a career switch, kickstart a business, or even to invest in stocks if she chooses to rent instead of buy. 

Choices

Buy

Rent

Financial

Flexibility

If You Intend to

Continue Working to Rebuild Your Finances

If You Intend to Enjoy

Financial Options with Cash-in-Hand

#3: How Many Properties Do You Want to Have in Your Lifetime? 

If Lisa envisions herself to own 1 property in her lifetime, then, she should buy. 

If Lisa sees herself to be an investor with a portfolio of properties, then, renting is more practical than buying. 

Why? 

This is because your personal residence is not an income-producing asset. Thus, it does not improve your eligibility to a higher loan amount which is a source of financing to your investments into the second, third or fourth property. 

If Lisa has RM 150,000 in savings, she may opt to invest in a property where the price is RM 250,000. She may rent it out for RM 1,000 per month. Here, I would explain Lisa’s possibility of buying her next property if she opts to buy or to rent a unit at the Waterfront with the following table: 


Option

Buy Waterfront 

@ RM 500,000

Rent Waterfront & Invest

in a RM 250,000 Property

Initial Capital Outlay
(DP+Legal+Reno Fees)

RM 119,850

RM 59,900

Savings Left 

(Savings – Initial Capital Outlay)

RM 30,150
(RM 150,000 – RM 119,850)

RM 90,100
(RM 150,000 – RM 59,900)

Monthly Income
(Monthly Income + Rent Income)

RM 7,000
(RM 7,000 + RM 0)

RM 8,000
(RM 7,000 + RM 1,000)

Maximum Debt Repayment

Based on DSR @ 60%

RM 4,200

RM 4,800

Current Debt Repayment

RM 2,129

RM 1,064

Usable Debt Repayment Quota
(Maximum Debt – Current Debt)

RM 2,071
(RM 4,200 – RM 2,129)

RM 3,736
(RM 4,800 – RM 1,064)

Maximum Loan Eligibility
Rule of 200

RM 414,200
(RM 2,071 x 200)

RM 747,200
(RM 3,736 x 200)

I’m not saying that it is not possible for Lisa to buy her second property if she is to choose to buy the Waterfront unit at RM 500,000. What I reckon is – Lisa will find it easier to afford her second property if she chooses to rent and invest her money into a tenanted investment property. 


#4: Capital Appreciation 

You may ask: ‘But, won’t Lisa’s house appreciate to RM 1 million in 10 years?’

Let’s discuss. I was informed, perhaps you too, that property prices, in general, will double every 10 years if they are well-located. So, let us assume that Lisa’s wishes turn out to be true. Her Waterfront property did appreciated in price to RM 1 million in 10 years. 

The question is: ‘Who can buy?’ 

In 10 years time, a prospective buyer would need to prepare the following: 

No.

Expense Items to Prepare For

Estimated Amount (RM)

1

10% Down Payment

100,000

2

SPA Legal Fees

7,450

3

SPA Stamp Duty

24,000

4

Loan Facilities Legal Fees

6,750

5

Loan Stamp Duty

4,500

6

Valuation Fees

2,050

7

Renovation & Furnishing Expenses 

(Max: 10% of Property Price)

100,000

Lisa’s Total Maximum Initial Capital Outlay

244,750

His mortgage instalment works out to be RM 4,259. If he prefers to keep a safe DSR of 30%, he needs to make at least RM 14,200 in monthly income (he needs more if he has outstanding debt). 

Affordability Measures

Cash-in-Hand

Minimum Monthly Income

Today @ RM 500,000

RM 150,000

RM 7,000 (assuming no debt)

10 Years Later @ RM 1 million

RM 250,000

RM 14,200 (assuming no debt)

Do you believe that, in 10 years time, the locals residing in the vicinity have the ability to grow their monthly income to above RM 10,000 and save up as much as RM 200,000 and above in cash reserves to buy over your million-ringgit real estate? 

If the answer is yes, then, you may consider buying the property. 

If not, then, you may consider renting the property instead. After all, growth in property price is greatly dependent on the local population’s ability to increase their wealth over the long-term. 


Conclusion: To Buy or To Rent

So, should Lisa buy a unit or rent a unit at the Waterfront? Here, I’ll summarize what we’d discussed in the table below: 

Option

Buy

Rent

Cash-In-Hand

> RM 150,000

< RM 100,000

Monthly Income

> RM 8,000 

< RM 7,000

Life Goals

Plan to Continue Working

Plan for a Career Switch or Start a Business

Properties

One to Stay for a Lifetime

Multiple Properties

Capital Growth

Believe it will increase

Do Not Believe it will appreciate a lot

What say you? If you’re Lisa, would you buy or rent a unit at the Waterfront? 

Please leave your comments below: 

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Question: 

Hi Ian, is Airasia Group Bhd (Airasia) worth investing at RM 2.75 today over the medium term (1-2 years)? 

Lately, I received the above WhatsApp Message from a subscriber. 

It is a common question often asked by ‘investors’. Hence, I believe, it would be educational to share my views in writing. Hopefully, from it, you’ll understand a bit about what stock investing is and how do savvy investors assess a stock deal from scratch. So, what is my answer? 

My answer is – I don’t know. 

As truthful as my answer is, I too understand that it is a disappointing reply. The answers that are to be expected would be either a ‘Yes, it’s worth it’ or ‘No, it is not worth it’. In my opinion, if I dish out such answers to him, I’ll be doing him a great disservice. It is not responsible. 

Instead, I replied him with a few questions. They are as follows:

#1: Why Airasia? 

As I write, we have 900+ stocks to choose from to invest into in Bursa Malaysia. 

So, why Airasia? What do you like about the stock? 

Understandably, I have posted this question back to my questioners. I can feel a sense of ‘dumb-foundedness’ as they try their best to answer my question. This is quite normal because most people do not study about Airasia, or any stock in the stock market, before investing. 

That is a big ‘No-No’ in stock investing. 

What do I want to know? 

As an investor, I want to know about Airasia’s business model, how it generates income, how much it made for the past 10 years, its financial standings, and its future plans towards sustainable growth. That is my step #1. 

The reason why I want to know the above is because stock investing is first and foremost an act to acquire shares of businesses. I would like to accumulate and earn my share of profits from stocks that grow profits consistently. 

How am I supposed to differentiate a good stock that grows profits consistently from a bad one that doesn’t without reading up its annual reports? 

So, if you are sincere in looking to invest in Airasia, would you mind taking time to read up its annual reports to find out as much as you possibly can on Airasia before investing? 

#2: Why Hold 1-2 Years? 

Supposedly, Airasia is a good stock. 

Why do you want to hold it for only 1-2 years? Why not longer if it is that good? 

If a good stock is able to consistently grow profits, wouldn’t it be better to hold onto the stock for as long as possible, preferably forever? 

The above is usually asked if he is an investor because an investor is one who is asset-focused and is into share ownership. 

Understandably, the reason why the duration is set at 1-2 years is because he is interested to achieve capital appreciation from this transaction. Hence, my next question is: ‘What would be the price of Airasia in 2020 or in 2021?’ 

Will it rise to RM 3? RM 4? RM 5 and beyond? 

What is the basis for it to go up? How do you come out with a figure? 

This explains why my answer to the above question is – I don’t know. But, it led me to ask the next question: 

#3: What if It Drops to RM 2? 

What would you do? 

Would you be buying more shares of Airasia? Would you cut your losses? 

If you are not sure on what you should be doing, it is best not to get into stocks. This is because you do not have an investment or a trading plan. Both plans, be it investing or trading, are different. In most cases, it is next-to-impossible to try to be both investor and trader at the same time. 

If you are an investor, you invest. If you are a trader, you trade. Focus is key. The danger lies in not appreciating their differences. 

For instance, if the price of a good stock falls, an investor would buy more as he intends to accumulate shares of good stocks at a discount. That is me. But, if he is a trader, he would cut his losses to minimize his trading losses. 

So, the question above is directed to the wrong personnel. If you intend to hold onto a stock for 1-2 years, you should ask a professional trader and not investor for the above question is a trading question. Also, you may rephrase the above: 

‘Is Airasia worth Trading at RM 2.75 today?’ 

You should ask a trading question to traders, an investing question to investors. 

 #4: Why Do You Want to Buy Stocks? 

‘To make money!’, you may answer. 

Okay …  How then do you measure your profits from buying stocks? 

Is it based on capital gains? or cash flows? 

Obviously, my questioner is into capital gains. He mentioned nothing about the stock’s earnings and dividend payouts. If he bought Airasia at RM 2.75 and sold it for RM 5.50, then, he would double his capital. 

To me, as discussed earlier, how do you know that it will hit RM 5.50 a share for the next few years? This is what I mean by people treating the stock market like a gigantic casino to speculate, bet, and gamble. There is no knowledge about its business, its management, its financials, and its expected returns. 

It leads to inconsistent results in the stock market. That is not what investors do to achieve consistent investment returns from their stock portfolio. 

#5: What’s My Profile as an Investor? 

I’m a value investor who invests primarily for dividend income. Period. 

My investment plan is simple. It is to identify good stocks that has the ability to consistently grow profits and to accumulate these shares at their lowest prices. 

To sum it up, it is to ‘Buy Good and Buy Low’. 

I measure my investment returns by using dividend yield. Currently, I’m earning 5-7% in dividend yield per year from my stock portfolio. I’m collecting dividends in 8-9 months out of 12 months a year. 

As such, it is easier to measure how well I’m doing in stock investing. Personally speaking, I don’t know how much would the price of a stock be exactly over the next few years. 

I just know that every single stock that I bought pays me dividends. That is what I believe as investing with greater certainty. I’m certain of my dividends and it is great cash flows. 

But, what about capital gains? 

Most stocks that I own have appreciated in prices today. However, I don’t think that capital gains are worth measuring. This is because stock prices fluctuate on a daily basis. Everyday, the value of my stock portfolio changes. So, I believe it is a futile effort to measure capital gains unless I want to hype myself up. 

Conclusion: I Want to Achieve What You’re Achieving 

This is quite possible for I started with very little. 

It is not about the amount of capital. It starts with having an investor’s mindset. It is learnable. I read plenty of stuff when I started off as a newbie investor. The book authors include Warren Buffett, Robert Kiyosaki, Jim Rogers … etc. When I started, I bought their books and studied them. 

I reckon that you do the same. 

KC is an avid reader too. He has an encyclopedia of books on investing and also variety of subjects in personal finance. 

Reading is beneficial. But, what if you don’t like to read? 

You can attend webinars (KC’s included), sign up for workshops or join a club or society that allows you to network with other fellow investors … etc. 

The key is to appreciate learning. Your Return On Investing into anything will go up as you become more educated as an investor. Never stop learning. 

All the best. 

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Will you have RM 100,000 by 30?

How would you answer this question?

Is it a yes? no? or I don’t know?

How do you feel after being asked this question?

Do you feel excited about it? or, are you pessimistic about it?

I believe we will have different answers to this simple question. Our answers, if you think about, are reflective of our personalities, money beliefs, income level and …. so on and so forth. As you read, if you are not born rich and are working for a salary of below RM 5k+ a month, this article is definitely written to you.

For a start, let’s assume you earn RM 5k+ a month from your job today. Maybe, you’ll find RM 100,000 to be overwhelming as it is a huge sum. Yup, it is indeed a lot of money but it seems to be a lot bigger especially if your monthly income is not high. That’s pretty normal. But, in this article, I’ll like to address this issue by asking this question:

‘Is it possible for you to have RM 100,000 by 30 with humble beginnings?’

To me, I find the answer to be ‘Yes’. But, the road to success requires us to think and manage our money differently from the conventional. Here, I’ll offer 5 food for thought so that you may stand a better chance of having RM 100,000 by 30.

#1: Can You Save Your Way to RM 100,000?

The answer is again ‘Yes’. But, will you get there by 30?

Let’s do some math.

If you make RM 5k+ a month and are able to save:

– RM 500 a month, it takes 16+ years to reach RM 100,000.

– RM 1,000 a month, it takes 8+ years to reach RM 100,000.

– RM 1,500 a month, it takes 5+ years to reach RM 100,000.

– RM 2,000 a month, it takes 4+ years to reach RM 100,000.

– RM 2,500 a month, it takes 3+ years to reach RM 100,000.

My question is: ‘Are you able to save 30% – 50% of your monthly income for the next 3 – 5 years to raise RM 100,000 by 30?’

If you are above 25 this year, what would you say?

If you find this approach ‘tough’, it is. Saving your way to RM 100,000, if you are making RM 5k+ a month, is excruciating and rather demotivating to most young people today. Thus, here’s a takeaway for you:

‘You need a better plan than just saving money to raise RM 100,000 by 30.’

Agree?

#2: Why the Middle-Income Couldn’t be Rich?

Let’s do a simple exercise.

Take a pen and a piece of paper. Draw a straight line at the middle of the paper. On the left side, list down the sources of income that you are earning presently and their amount on a monthly basis. Then, on the right side, you may continue by listing down what you have spent on and their amount on a monthly basis.

How would it look like?

For most in the 20s and making below RM 5k+ a month, your sketchings would most likely be:

Income

Expenses

– Job: RM 5,000 a month

– Food & Beverage: RM X

– Groceries: RM X

– Rent or Mortgage: RM X

– Car Loan: RM X

– Insurance: RM X

– Phone Bills: RM X

– Entertainment: RM X

– Holiday Trips: RM X

– Clothes: RM X

– Miscellaneous: RM X

The point is:

‘You have multiple expenses and rely on 1 source of income to support them.’  

You have many ideas to consume money, but have little ideas to produce them. In most cases, it’s a sure path towards financial unsoundness.

So, what can you do?

#3: Cut Your Expenses?

I agree to this solution, to some extent. Here’s how I view it:

First, I agree that you can immediately boost your savings a month by reducing a handful of expenditures which are not urgent. This includes your holiday trip, latest smartphones, gym packages, clubbing, fine dining … etc.

So, let’s say you are committed to save money and have decided to cut a few of these expenditures.

Awesome!

Out of it, your sketchings above would change to the following:

Income

Expenses

– Job: RM 5,000 a month

– Food & Beverage: RM X

– Groceries: RM X

– Rent or Mortgage: RM X

– Car Loan: RM X

– Insurance: RM X

– Phone Bills: RM X

– Entertainment: RM X

– Holiday Trips: RM X

– Clothes: RM Y (Reduce from RM X)

– Miscellaneous: RM Y (Reduce from RM X )

Guess what?

You may boost your savings by a few more RM X00 a month but … the truth is:

You still have 1 source of income to pay for lots of expenses.

Does it make you rich? Not really. Cutting down 10 expenses to just 7 is indeed not enough to make you rich. Instead, it is a quick way for you to feel miserable and encourages you to forget about the whole RM 100,000 savings plan. Why?

This is because your mammoth efforts in cutting expenses will not provide you a big enough reward to continue the efforts. In other words, walking 1km each day does not immediately turn a fat boy into Arnold Schwarzenegger and thus, the fat boy quits … although walking 1km is a helpful start to turnaround his health.

Besides, if you make RM 5k+ a month, how much can you ‘save’ anyway? Let’s say, you are damn good at saving money, can you save RM 5,000 per month?

The answer is ‘Nope’.

As such, I believe, saving money and cutting expenses would not make anyone of us rich or helpful to us to raise RM 100,000 by 30.

So, if saving money and cutting expenses is not the way, then, what is?

#4: You Should Focus on ‘Income’, not expenses.  

In contrast, you should spend money … wisely.

Take a look at your sketches. Which of these expenses will make you richer? … not make you look richer but leaving your poorer.

If you earn RM 5k+ or below per month, most likely, you don’t have knowledge, ideas, skills, insights, technical know-how, network, influence … etc which could be traded for money to boost your income.

Here’s what I’ll do.

For instance, if I have RM 30,000 in cash and intend to raise my cash to as much as RM 100,000, instead of saving RM 500 or RM 1,000 a month, I believe, it will be faster and more efficient for me to identify the skills I needed to learn which can be traded for higher income, pay to acquire these skills and master them.

What are some of these skills?

It depends on your field of work and industry. There will always be the top 10% or 20% who makes more money with less effort as compared to the rest of 80% or 90% in the industry, be it finance, sales, engineering, medicine, … whatever.

You may want to find out what they do and learn from them.

If you’re into business, then, it’s essential for you to take time to study from the best marketers about sales and marketing. Instead of cutting business expenses (which is not going to take your business to the next level), I think it is helpful, if you are willing to spend money to learn about marketing and further raise your budget in marketing. Why?

This is because marketing brings sales and sales brings income.

Less marketing may lead to less sales and thus, bringing in fewer income.

As such, the takeaway is:

Increasing income is a faster way to raise RM 100,000 than saving money. So, what do you need to learn to increase your income today?

#5: Your Catalyst to RM 100,000 and Beyond …

Over time, probably 6 – 12 months after beginning to learn a tradable skill, you should experience some form of increase in active income, leading to a raise in your bank account.

That’s great. But, it is not the time to ‘increase your expenses’ just yet.

Why? This is because you still have 1 source of income despite having a raise in quantum of the income.

The good news is: You are ready to convert these cash into investments which will pay you regular streams of passive income (income earned from being an owner of assets, not physical labour).

If you learn how to do that, your sketches would look like:

Income

Expenses

– Job: More than RM 5,000 a month

– Business Income: RM Z

– Rental Income: RM Z

– Dividend Income: RM Z

– Interest Income: RM Z

– Royalty Income: RM Z



– Food & Beverage: RM X

– Groceries: RM X

– Rent or Mortgage: RM X

– Car Loan: RM X

– Insurance: RM X

– Phone Bills: RM X

– Entertainment: RM X

– Holiday Trips: RM X

– Clothes: RM Y (Reduce from RM X)

– Miscellaneous: RM Y (Reduce from RM X )

Now, you have more than 1 sources of income to pay for more than 1 expenses on a monthly basis.

They would make you financially stabler, enabling you to reach the RM 100,000 savings target faster.

 Conclusion: The Secret Sauce to Raise RM 100,000 by 30

All in all, it is possible for you to have RM 100,000 by 30.

But, the conventional method of ‘working hard, save money’ is definitely a slow and miserable way of achieving that RM 100,000. Personally, I find that learning how to increase income via learning income-tradable skills and investing is a lot more fun, faster, and efficient.

This, I believe, is the secret sauce to having at least RM 100,000 by 30.

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I believe ‘spending money’ is a faster approach to richness than ‘saving money’, especially if your income is below RM 5,000 a month.

With that being said, let me clarify. The article’s title is about you becoming rich and not trying to look rich when you are not. It is not about enjoying the best in life when you could not really afford it. Rather, it is about elevating your current financial status by spending a proportion of your income as wisely as possible.

Here is a golden nugget.

The rich spend money very differently from the poor and the middle class. They know the difference between ‘good expenses’ and ‘bad expenses’. For instance, the good ones will make them financially richer while the bad ones would make them financially poorer. The appreciation of it is the distinction between having true wealth and one who is enjoying fake wealth.

Question: ‘Does it mean that I have to eliminate ‘bad expenses’ totally and only spend on ‘good expenses’ to become rich?’

To me, that is not reality. All of us, regardless of our current financial status, will spend money on both good and bad expenses. Personally, I think the difference between the rich, the middle class, and the poor in terms of spending money is as follows:

– The Poor has bad expenses and no or little good expenses.

– The Middle Class prioritizes bad expenses over good expenses.

– The Rich prioritizes good expenses over bad expenses.

Perhaps, you may ask:

– What about saving or investing money for the future? (Point 1 & 2)

– So, what are good expenses? (Point 3, 4, & 5)

Here, I’ll share my thoughts on saving, spending, and investing money based on one who is earning RM 5,000 a month. Along the way, I’ll share a few tips which you can use immediately to grow your income and secure your financial future.

Thought #1: It Takes More than Saving Money to become Rich.

In our last article on ‘Two Magic Numbers for Comfortable Retirement’, you are given ‘30%’ as the first magic number to work on. KC reckons us to save at least 30% of our monthly income if we wish to fund a comfortable retirement.

If you make RM 5,000 a month, it means, you should save RM 1,500 a month. It works out to be RM 18,000 after one year. By itself, I think, it is an amazing feat. But, would saving RM 18,000 a year be enough for you to retire rich in 10, 20 or even 30 years’ time?

The answer is ‘Nope’ and today, most people are aware of that. Hence, it led us to:

Thought #2: Is Investing the Answer to Retiring Young and Rich?

In general, there are three asset classes which you can get into to increase your wealth: Stocks, Real Estates, and Businesses. I’ll go through them briefly.

Let’s start with stocks. To me, it is a reliable way of earning passive income on a quarterly / semi-annually basis while waiting for their share prices to rise in the future. Personally, I’m relying heavily both on my accounting and investing skills to build a profitable stock portfolio. If you don’t have these skills stated above, I think it would be better for you to first acquire them before investing in stocks.

What about properties? Presently, I believe, the better real estate deals are not in the primary market but in the secondary (subsale) and the auction market. It requires us to have a bigger initial capital (at least RM 100,000) to participate in these markets. If you don’t have RM 100,000 in cash-in-hand, I think, it is better for you to temporarily refrain yourself from property investments.

What about cashback properties in primary markets, multiple loan submissions and mark-up deals? Personally, I know of their existence and did not use any of these creative techniques to buy my investment property. If you earn RM 5,000 a month, I believe it is better for you to refrain yourself from them because you are putting yourself at greater financial risk if your investment into a property is a mistake.

Finally, businesses. It is a good asset class to begin with because you can start a business with small amount of capital, with low risk and be creative with it. The question is: ‘Are you enterprising?’ There are entrepreneurs who began small & had built recurring streams of income from their businesses. I befriended some myself. But, entrepreneurship, I believe, can be challenging and not suitable for all. If you got an idea and are willing to pursue it with dog-liked determination, I think, entrepreneurship may be suitable for you.

All in all, if you earn RM 5,000 a month, I think investing may not necessarily be the answer to your financial problems as most investments in the above classes of assets are ‘a little out of reach’ to you at the moment. As such, I’ll share with you three things that you can aim for today to be financially readier to become richer. They are:

Thought #3: You May First Aim to be Financial Secure

Here’s a food for thought. You may save and invest money as reckoned by most financial professionals. My question is: ‘If you have lost your ability to generate income today due to illness, accident, …. etc, how will you pay for your medical bills and living expenses?’

Hence, the first good expenses that all of us should have is: ‘Insurance, both life and medical insurance.’ Do you have them and is your coverage sufficient? A lot has been said and written on this subject. I’m not going to write another 1000+ word article on the virtues of buying life insurance.  Thus, I’ll leave you with:

‘Do not be Penny Wise and Pound Foolish. Get Sufficient Coverage.’

I believe, a basic standalone medical card (probably the cheapest medical card you can get in Malaysia) is around RM 50 – 70 per month, especially if you’re in your 20s. It is great for anyone who is financially tight. You may upgrade it over time once your finances are more stable.

Thought #4: Expenses that Could Double or Triple Your Income

If you earn RM 5,000 per month, I believe it would be helpful for you to aim for an increment in income to RM 10,000 per month.

Think about it.

In most cases, ‘Does it take twice the amount of workload, time, and energy to double one’s monthly income?’ In other words, if you work 8 – 9 hours a day to make RM 5,000 in income a month, does working 16 – 18 hours a day helpful to you to bring your income to RM 10,000 a month?

If it’s a ‘Yes’, then, what about people who make RM 20,000 a month?

As such, your level of income, to some extent, is not dependent on your labour, time and physical effort placed on your job or business. Instead, it can be ideas, insights, technical know-how, network and influence that could actually double, triple or even quadruple one’s income, be it in employment or business. Agree?  

If that’s the case, how much you do spend in a month to acquire them?

For instance, if you are working as a salesman, how often do you attend a sales and marketing workshop, have lunch with the top salesperson in your company or read books and watch video tutorials on salesmanship? Are you spending on stuff that would bring you new business ideas and clients which would result in an increase in income?

These are good expenses and probably, better investments than stocks and real estate to you.

‘But, what if, I’m not into Sales?’

It depends on your field or industry. For instance, if you’re an accountant, then, you may study to obtain a professional certificate such as ACCA, CFA, CPA …etc. If you are into medicine, engineering, law, … etc, I am pretty sure that there are courses and certifications to enhance your knowledge and abilities in your field or expertise and thus, positioning yourself towards higher income.

I’m sure there are always ‘rooms for improvements’ in every field or career that one endeavours. You may consider identifying what they are and start learning.

Thought #5: Proper Financial Education

Once again, from the article – Two Magic Numbers for Comfortable Retirement’, the second magic number is 10%. It represents the Return On Investment (ROI) that we should aim for when investing, be it stocks, properties or businesses. It is a benchmark figure provided if you wish to retire young and rich.

Here, I’ll reveal a secret to boosting your ROI in investing in any asset class.

The secret is – education.

Many people want to get rich via investing. Normally, they would ask a series of questions relating to what investments they should be getting into and when. It is likened to one asking for a magic pill to build wealth without hard work. That, unfortunately, is not reality because investing is hard work.

Investing involves a lot of study, research, and homework. Investors who put in more preparation would have a better chance to attain better ROI figures from an investment as compared to investors who are not. It is applicable to all asset classes. If this deters you, it is best for you not to invest in anything and just put your money in fixed deposit.

But, if you wish to be a profitable investor, I suggest you to start by getting true financial education.

It includes a lot of self-learning such as books, seminars, workshops, webinars, online courses, hiring coaches, brainstorming and networking sessions, … etc.

All of these cost money. But, to me, they are good expenses as I do get a lot of new ideas to manage my money and investment portfolio.

So, How You Can Spend Money to Become Richer?

There are more to be discussed about this subject. For now, I’ll leave you with a couple of pointers:

  1. Recognise that there are ‘Good Expenses’ and ‘Bad Expenses’.
  1. The Rich spends more on good expenses and thus, become richer.
  1. Good expenses are expenses that make you financially richer.
  1. They are expenses either to protect your wealth or to build them.
  1. Example 1: Get Sufficient Life & Medical Insurance.
  1. Example 2: Spend to Learn Stuff that would Double your Income.
  1. Example 3: Spend on Financial & Investment Education.
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Retirement is a destination each one of us will get there sooner or later.

It is quite impossible for me to put a retirement figure because each of us will get there at a different time, therefore a different value of money, and with varying needs of retirement.

But if you want to quantify this topic and put up some numbers so everybody can have a guideline, let me give you two figures to take away, that is easy to remember, and will help you achieve your retirement goals with almost 100% certainty.

The First Magic Number: 30%

It is about how much you can save. That’s 30% of the money you make.

How much you make determine the lifestyle you can have. Regardless of whether you are making RM1k a month, RM5k a month, RM10k a month or RM50 a month, if you can save 30% of your money by spending below your means at all time, you will be able to retire and maintain your lifestyle.

Why 30%?

As you know, if you are under active employment, you already save >20% in EPF by combining both your personal and your employer’s contribution. But unfortunately, according to EPF’s 2016 report, only 22% of the 6.7 million active contributors aged 54 years have sufficient savings of RM196,800 or more to sustain themselves during retirement.

If you are not one of the top 20% high-income earner, you will most likely end up without sufficient retirement nest egg if EPF is your only savings. To do better, you need to save at least 10% more on your own. For those who don’t contribute to EPF, you better strike for at least 30% saving rate.

The essential principle here is not about the amount of savings, but the habits of being able to delay gratification, live frugally and don’t spend your future money. Once you can live for less, and lead a simple lifestyle, you will realise how rich you can be! In my opinion, you have more choices than those who can only accept the best option. For instance, if you are used to living large, during your vacation, you might not enjoy when you stay in a hotel less than 5-star ratings. But if your tolerance is high, you have a vast range of accommodation choices, and it doesn’t affect your level of enjoyment even if you stay at cheaper places.

So the first number, 30% saving rate. Adhering to that, you will have a fine retirement. It is like how my parents made it. My father was the sole breadwinner, and he retired at age 45. He didn’t have millions in the bank, but he is debt-free, owning a small house and a usable car. Now they stay at Sungai Petani, Kedah and spend less than RM1000 a month.  Although my siblings and I continue to pay them allowances each month, they had never asked any money from us right from the beginning. I am pretty sure that they don’t even need our subsidy to survive.

However, if you want to retire comfortably, and live a good lifestyle, you will need the second number.

The Second Magic Number: 10%

It is about the investment return. You need to know how to invest with a double-digit return, 10% or more, whether in properties, stocks, or businesses. The earlier you know how to do this, you will have much better chance to retire early, with a good lifestyle.

For example, if you have RM1 million now, and you only generate 3% return like in the Fixed Deposit, that’s just RM2,500/month. But if you can do 12%, that’s RM10k a month. RM2.5k versus RM10k is a big leap.

The standard advice I hear from financial advisers is to stay conservative with your retirement fund and keep it in stable investments like fixed income funds, bond funds, EPF, Amanah Saham, etc. I think there is a flaw in this common advice because even for retirees, they are investing for the long term too. They might need to spend 3-5% of their net worth in the next 12 months, and that can be kept in stable funds. But how about the rest? Retirees do hope to have their money lasting as long as possible. So the investment horizon is also long term.

It is how one of my wife’s relatives did it. The couple is living in Batu Pahat because they own a few parcel of palm oil plantations there. The lands are generating excellent profit that funds their travel overseas several times each year. If they sell everything and put the millions in Fixed Deposit, I doubt that they would continue to go for exotic vacations and to buy branded handbags.

So there you go, two numbers to remember:

30% saving rate – put aside 30% of the money you make for long-term savings and investment

10% investment return or higher. If you don’t know how to achieve that, better start learning now.

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Question: What is the difference between buying an individual bond and bond fund (unit trust)?

1. Diversification – A bond fund is better in terms of diversification because the pooled investment can buy up to 20 -50 bonds different bonds.

2. Cash flow – It can be handled better for individual bond because a single bond has a definite maturity date. As for bond fund, investors would have to wait for income distribution from the fund manager or redeeming the fund units.

During the webinar, Anson Tan explained
– Funding method for businesses through debt and equity.
– The differences between Bonds versus Bond Funds, Fixed Deposit and Stocks.
– How to Trade Bonds with FSMOne Bond Express

For paid Premium Webinar Member (PWM), you get access to the full recording, video download, and notes in the members’ area. You can skim through it quickly if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, giving you the convenience to learn at your own pace.
Check it out here:

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When evaluating a banking stock, Ian Tai will look at these three major areas:

1. Stability

Does the bank has a strong balance sheet? Solid fundamentals ensure that the bank can survive during the economic crisis, and have funding to grow their business over time.

2. Profitability

Banks are in the business for the long haul. Find banks that are profitable over 10-year. You can better observe whether the bank can make money during both good time and bad time.

If you only look at the past three years, and what if that was during economic good times, then you might misjudge the income-generating ability of the bank.

You will only know who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.

3. Valuation

The sequence is to look at the stability and profitability first (No.1 & No. 2 above). Those are the fundamentals. Focus on those first, before focusing on the stock price (valuation). When the price is right — and it will come for some days — you can snap up the opportunity.

Ian Tai showed us more details on what to look for in the annual report, such as:

  • Loan, Advances & Financing Assets
  • Gross Impairment Loan Ratio (GILR)
  • Total Capital Ratio (TCR)
  • Loan Loss Coverage Ratio (LLCR)

For paid Premium Webinar Members (PWM), you can check out the full training, notes, Q&A and discussion here:

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Before 2009, property investors used mainly these three strategies:

  1. Buy – keep: buy a property to keep for a long term and make a profit from the capital gain.
  2. Cash Flow: buy a property with an excellent rental yield that produces cash flow each month.
  3. Buy – Flip: buy an undervalued property and flip it for a quick gain.
    (Credit to Dr Peter Yee who summarised these during his recent sharing)

After 2009, there are more sophisticated property investment strategies, namely:

  1. No money down: zero down payment deals.
  2. Multiple submission / Loan compression: Get 90% financing for more than two residential properties by tricking the more than two banks to provide mortgage offer seems on the same property, but in the actual case for different units.
  3. Investment Holding Company (IHC): free up personal individual’s Debt Service Ratio to get even more financing
  4. Property Flipping (Buy – Makeover – Flip)
  5. Property Stacking
  6. Cashback – Negative Gearing: getting extra cash by financing more than the property price.

During a recent online class, Dr Victor Gan (a.k.a. #PropertyDoctor) further explained the Cashback Method. The method usually involves bulk purchase from a developer, who faced problem with poor sales. They would markup the condo price to way above market value to allow buyers to get a higher loan due to the inflated price. In some cases, buyers get cashback when bank release loan more than needed for the real estate construction. Purchasers shall use the extra money received to service the mortgage for several years and hope for the property to appreciate.

But, isn’t that dangerous when you leverage too much, especially when you acquire too many harmful properties, that can’t fetch adequate rental and drain your pocket each month?

Dr Victor Gan showed us the ideal scenario, the grim reality, and the hidden problems that trapped novice investors. For paid Premium Webinar Members (PWM), you can check out the full recording, notes, Q&A and discussion here:
Debunked: Are ‘Cash-Back’ Projects & Multiple Loan Submissions the Fastest Way to Property Investment Success Today?

????Cash Back???Multiple Loan Submissions??????????

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I have known Yap Ming Hui for ages.

For years, Yap is an advocate for independent financial advices. He believes any financial advice given should be tailor-made to the benefit of an individual and not as a result of  ‘sales pitches’ which primarily benefit both the salesperson and financial institutions that introduced their financial products.

Whitman, his firm offers customized wealth management solutions to high net worth clients ranging from successful entrepreneurs to high-flyers in corporate sectors across Malaysia. Yap himself had authored six best-sellers, appeared on NTV7’s the Breakfast Show, and shared his views on personal finance in various printed media such as The Edge, Business Times, The Star … etc.

I too, had featured him several times on my Live Webinars.

It has been years since we last contacted each other until … just recently, when he reached out and excitedly share about his latest breakthrough – a mobile app which provides DIY financial plan to its users. And get this, it is FREE!

Our WhatsApp chat call went like this:

KC: ‘Hi Yap, what’s up?’

Yap: ‘Hi KC, it has happened!  I finally have the resources and the technology to develop a Mobile App that would help Malaysians DIY a financial plan and help individuals  from all walks of life achieve financial freedom. It’s a dream come true, and guess what – 9 years in the making!.’

KC: ‘Wow! That’s cool. What’s the app?’

Yap: ‘It is called iWealth. You can download it from Google Play or App Store.’

KC: ‘Awesome!’

Yap: ‘Would you do me a favour? The app is a free tool.  Can you download it and give it a try. Let me know what you think about it. Okay?’

KC: ‘Sure. I’ll do that right away.’

iWealth

Shortly, I registered an account with iWealth. It was a quick and easy process.  The app then prompted me to fill in several basic particulars such as age, income, expenses, assets, liabilities, and my financial goals. Out of which, a chart (current roadmap to financial freedom) that projects my Net Worth over Time was plotted and shown to me. It looked like this::


From this initial interface, the user would be able to tell , whether or not, they  would accumulate sufficient wealth to fund their desired lifestyle until the age of 85 and beyond. If the users are not happy with what they see on their current roadmap e.g.my wealth ran out before reaching 85, the app allows you to adjust:

  1. My Return on Investment (ROI).
  2. My Expenses before and after Retirement
  3. My Financial Goals
  4. My Retirement Age

From there, iWealth would chart a new simulation called the  Improved Roadmap as shown below:

Personally, I find iWealth easy to use as I am able to quickly chart my net worth within 5 – 10 minutes after downloading the app. I believe this app is suitable to those who wants to DIY their own financial plan and importantly, serve as a good starting point for Malaysians who worry about their finances but do not know where to start. iWealth would be a good app to help you know where you stand, and what actions to take next.  I believe there are many of us out there, who wish we knew the ‘magic numbers’ to how much we need to save, to spend, to lavish, to invest, in order to achieve a peace of mind and importantly have enough resources to retire.

If you happen to be one of these people, you may check out the app at  iWealth.com.my or download the app free of charge (FOC) at:

Download Link: iWealth App on Google Play and App Store

In this article, I’ll like to share what I like about iWealth and perhaps, add a few pointers of improvement that could be made to enhance the users’ experience of the app.  So Yap, if you are reading this …….. here’s my honest review:

Like #1: It Considers Our Lifetime Income

Upon completion of the chatbot on the app, I was shown a projection of how much money i can possibly earn throughout my entire working career, i.e. the lifetime income earned until age 60 years. This figure is derived from the annual active income figure that I have entered.

I find this subtle revelation helpful for working adults.

As I write, many people, especially those who are in their 20s and early 30s, are not aware of how much money they can possibly earn in their lifetime and thus miss out on the full potential to capitalise on this information. It has led to many short-term financial decisions being made which could be harmful to a person’s financial wellbeing in the future.

With iWealth, we are able to see the big picture of our financial status over our lifetime. But further from this, by knowing one’s lifetime income, we get the opportunity to truly realise the extent of our money making capabilities. Hence, it helps us to be more purposeful and long-term focused when we make major financial decisions.

Like #2: It is a ‘Wake-Up’ Call to Achieve True Financial Freedom

Second, iWealth tells us, whether or not, we are on track to achieve true financial freedom. In layman terms, is your wealth growing fast enough?

When you input your financial information on the app, you are shown how much extra wealth (or not)  you will have at age 60. From here on,  users can navigate the app to see which strategy will give them the most wealth at age 60 (refer to image below).

There’s a difference between a financial calculator and an app which looks into your entire wealth in a holistic manner. iWealth is a holistic financial planning tool that takes into consideration all your financial goals, such as your home purchase, children’s tertiary education, retirement planning and more,  in its totality. In short, the app is able to give you a big picture view as to where you stand now in relation to your journey to achieve your financial freedom.

I am of the view that only by knowing clearly where we stand, we  will be able to increase our chances of success towards attaining true financial freedom.

If you find your wealth not growing fast enough, you would be able to take corrective actions ASAP to improve your financial success. As the saying goes, better sooner than later. .

Let’s put it this way, if you continue to manage and invest your money without a clear picture, you wouldn’t know if your actions are contributing and discounting to your financial freedom achievement. So, iWealth allows you to get out of such a conundrum.

Like #3: Tailor-made Financial Strategies.

Question: ‘What is the best way to achieve financial freedom?’

There’s no one definite way to grow wealth.  A combination of factors are at play in order to do this.

However, if you’d ask:

  1. A Unit Trust Consultant, he would say: ‘Invest in Unit Trust’.
  2. An Insurance Agent, he would say: ‘Get a Savings Plan.’
  3. A Stock Investor, he would say: ‘Invest in Fundamentally Good Stocks.’
  4. A Real Estate Investor, he would say: ‘Buy Real Estate’.

You get the picture. The answers above are generic and do not consider factors specific to each individual according to his/her current status and life objectives.

Unlike any other financial apps out there, iWealth offers users a snapshot of their present and future financial standing while generating a suite of personalised strategies to help users  get closer to achieving their financial goals. These strategies can be employed immediately to grow your wealth. iWealth will indicate if you need to:

  1. Increase Your Investment Return.
  2. Reduce Your Retirement Expenses.
  3. Reduce Current Expenses To Increase Your Savings.
  4. Delete or Reduce Some of Your Financial Goals.
  5. Reduce the Amount of Your Children’s Tertiary Education Fund (if any)
  6. Increase Your Retirement Age.

All of these methods are suggested after you have filled in your particulars such as your financial status, life objectives … etc. Thus, the suggestions given would be more tailor-made and specific to your personal financial needs.

Like #4: Flexible to Choose Your Preferred Strategies

Here is a good thing I like about iWealth.

Its end-users have the flexibility to choose or mix & match a combination of the strategies provided until they find themselves a preferred financial plan.  It’s akin to having your own financial Waze. Like Waze, iWealth helps users to identify a few alternative routes to reach their financial freedom destination. From those alternatives, users can then choose the best approach to achieve their financial goals.

As such, it is important for users to explore or go through various permutations with the app, to find the most effortless and preferred strategy to grow their wealth moving forward.Here, I’ll like to stress the following:

‘Planning is Good. Having the Right Answers is Great. But, Wealth is only Built if You Start Executing Your Financial Plan. Do not be Paralysed with Analysis.’

If you are not able to formulate your ideal financial plan in one sitting, not to worry.  

There is a function to save your details in the app so that you can log back in to where you left off to continue plotting your ideal plan. In fact, you may login to review and update your data for as many times as you wish after you have downloaded the app. You are also encourage to login from time to time to update your financial information if there are any changes to your circumstances e.g you received a promotion, you’re expecting another child and etc.

Minor Suggestion:  Breakdown of Assets Should be Given

I had noticed that there is no breakdown of assets given when I was required to fill in my financial particulars.

Instead, I was required to fill in one absolute figure for ‘assets’ and one amount in percentage for ‘return on investments’. I struggled to come out with the two figures, especially the latter one, for I invested into a diversified portfolio which consists of stocks, real estates, P2P financing … etc.

I may know the market value for each asset class of investments made. But, it is a challenge for me to quantify one absolute ROI figure for all of my investments in my portfolio as they are all yielding different ROI figures.

Therefore, I’ve WhatsApp Yap about it:

KC:’ Yap, is there a place to put in different asset classes in iWealth?’

Yap: ‘Don’t have, at the moment. Why did you ask?’

KC: ’Cause I have different investments in different asset classes. All of them are yielding different ROI figures.’

Yap: ‘Oic … For more detailed analysis and suggestions, you may choose to sign up for iWealth+ as it offers more features and financial advices are provided by my professional team of licensed financial advisers.’

KC: ‘Got it.’

In other words, iWealth is superb already. But, if you want to take your finances to the next level and are really serious about it, you may consider iWealth+. According to the website, iWealth+ is an advisor driven online wealth management mobile app which brings the best of human advisory element with fintech innovation. It’s supposed to offer a more comprehensive suite of strategies

All in all, iWealth is a very useful tool to have in your pocket. Potentially it can also be a wake up call for individuals who has never bothered to check in with their financial well being. If i may be bold to say, everyone, young and old should download this app so that they are aware of where they are – financially speaking. The sooner, the better.  You wouldn’t want to find out, when you are old and grey, that you don’t have the resources to retire comfortably, or that half way through your child’s tertiary education, you discover that you cannot afford it.

Download iWealth now, and get started to map your blueprint to financial success.

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