I love 2016. It seems like my best year ever. But I am sure more things will come every year!
2016 is the year I discover lots of cool stuff. Lots of amazing stuff that Really changed my life.
I won’t list down tons of stuffs that happened in 2016, but just the discoveries I had.
1. Go for Credit Card Miles
2016 is the year I had a revelation about credit card miles. Way long ago when I first heard of credit card, many people said it’s very dangerous, you can owe lots of money, you can go bankrupt..etc. However, I sign up my first card when I was into CPA marketing back then. It shows me the power of leveraging on debt to make money. It was really amazing if you know how to use credit card well.
So back then, i sign up different types of credit cards, going around to find out the best deals. Cashback, points, miles… but only in 2016, i realized the best type of credit card to go for, is Miles card. Cashback and points, nah. Not worth it.
With Miles – SQ or Asiamiles, I can take business/first class flight at 20-30% of the retail price. A $5k business class ticket may just need like $600-$800 worth of air miles. It’s incredible. When I knew this, i cancelled all my other credit cards, and just go for miles card.
2. Be Confident To Charge More
I have been doing SEO for some time. I’ve also tried doing freelance SEO for other people, mostly people who run businesses. I know how to do SEO, but don’t know how to sell SEO. I always randomly charge prices, but felt angry when those crap SEO people charge exorbitant prices, yet deliver crap results.
But in 2016, I knew I had to charge more in order to prove that my services are worth the deal. But what about those who can’t afford? oh.. Sorry then! So 2016 is also the year I rejected lots of SEO deal. Those lame deals that want SEO at $300 a month, or $3000 for 1 year… sorry guys. Go find others!
3. Personal Finance System
2016 is also the year I moved into my own new home. This is the year I have to start paying for home mortgage, paying my own bills, buy my own food, groceries, soap, shampoo, vacuum cleaner, cooking oil…etc. With all these taking into account, it is very obvious my expenses have doubled or tripled, compared to staying with my parents.
This is why I’m also more aware of my finances. But again, based on my personality, I’m always careful with my sending all that. But with more expenses, it’s always better to be knowing where the money goes.
And the good thing is, I have a really good financial advisor with me. He’s not that kind of insurance agent you see peddling saving plans on shopping malls. He’s the guy who can sit down with me to plan out my entire finances, draw up a system, and implement it so that my finances are well taken care of. I know when money comes in, where it goes to, how it will be spent, and how much will be spent.
With this I don’t have to worry if I have saved any money, if I’m covered with enough insurance, if I have money for holiday, if I can take some money to invest in risky stuffs…etc. No more guess work. Just by looking into my system, I know where my money went 🙂
Do you have a really good financial advisor in Singapore who don’t sell your insurance plans, but really plan our your own personal finance system? If not, let me recommend you to mine – Seng Bingyang.
4. Learning Value Investing
This is the year I also read about Value Investing. It is an investing strategy used by Warren Buffett to grow his income multiple times over a long period of time. You can go google him la… you know how much billions he has. I wanted to learn not so much because I want to be a billionaire (ok.. maybe a bit), but I see the real true power of Value Investing.
Not from Warren Buffett.
But from my own father! Limpeh!
He has been investing since he started working in 1970s.. and right now, every now and then, there are letters which are dividend paycheques at home. Back when I’m young, I’m still wondering what are those man. I thought they are just some complicated corporate letters with difficult English. But when I go read the letter… Wow. It’s money sia!
Some cheques are few dollars, some under $100, but some are a few thousands. And my Dad even told me they are small already. Because he used to received even bigger ones last time.
So previously, I don’t care all these letters. But now, I just wish these letters are for me. Haha..
So you see, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
I’m ready to learn now.
So from mid of 2016, I’ve been attending talks, investing fairs, reading books, buying courses, signing up memberships to learn investing. I believe the best way to learn is to learn from people who made it. Not from forums where people are anonymous. Not from random FB groups where we don’t know their backgrounds.
Then I started reading annual reports, reading stock charts, making sense of cashflow statements..etc. Anyway, this is my first time reading all these.
I then bought a few stocks starting in Sept. A few only.
That’s about it on Value Investing. Still a noob, still reading, still learning. Not making any money yet also. It’s a long term thing anyway 🙂
5. Nothing Glamorous About Being An Entrepreneur
For many years, almost a decade, my dream was to be an entrepreneur.
You know, like the guy who runs a business, make lots of money, has lots of freedom, can do whatever he/she wants. And time to time, can tell others he’s an entrepreneur, he has an own business.
And with that dream, I tried out lots of stuff, like MLM in 3 different companies, starting online businesses (which I’m still doing), getting into partnerships with different other entrepreneurs (and failed).
But for the past 5 years, the way I look at it, there’s actually nothing much about being an Entrepreneur.
It’s more of an EGO issue.
It feels so much better, with your ego boosted, when you tell others that you are your own boss, compared to you’re an employee, and you’re taking a salary.
And also during this time, I met many ‘wantrepreneurs’ , who are there just to show off they are the boss of their company, but deep down, they know they are not running any business, not earning any revenue, and needless to say, not making any profits. But they can keep showing the world they have time freedom, they have freedom to work anywhere. So I guess they are just not making any money, hence too free? Lol…
It was also during these period, I met quite a number of real successful entrepreneurs, who are really making profits for the company, providing real value to the world. They work hard day and night, they have free time for friends and family. But the thing is, whatever they do, they are passionate and with a purpose. They can wake up at 5am to start their day and then end work at 5pm, and do these everyday.
“Oh no, don’t they want to travel the world? Don’t they want time freedom? Don’t they want to show others how great the life of an entrepreneur is? “
From my conversation with these real successful entrepreneurs with family members to feed, they don’t really care so much about working anywhere anytime, or if they can travel the world. They are more concerned if they are fulfilling their life’s purpose, and making good income for themselves, and others.
With this in mind, I realise I got the definition of an entrepreneur all wrong. My motivations to be an entrepreneur is wrong, and probably which I failed to be one. But again, I don’t hate myself for it. In fact, I’m loving my current life being an employee and self-employed (more on that on next point).
This is an important revelation for me.
6. My Own Wealth Formula
Back at the age of 19, I set a goal to be a millionaire by age of 26.
Ok. that goal didn’t come true when I’m 26. But again, I still hold that dream.
But after going through life for the past 5 years, I realise being a millionaire is nothing much. Actually, it’s quite easy to be a millionaire in Singapore. Statistics show us that 1 in 6 households are millionaires!
I learned that having cash of million dollars doesn’t mean much. In fact, it is not enough to just have a million dollars. You will finish it after all.
I learned that it is more important to have a cashflow of a million dollars! In fact, you don’t need so much, if you have a annual free cashflow of $100,000 , it’s good enough.
And that is where I have derived my own wealth formula.
I work on my job + side businesses to earn Active Income
I invest in income-generating assets to earn Passive Income
Simple formula. Building active income and passive income at the same time.
This will take time, and that’s why I’m learning Value Investing, but learning how to invest my spare cash in income generating assets that will grow my money, and even give me dividends every now and then.
And that is also why I think I have found the job I love, doing what I love at work. Plus, I also have my side businesses which give me some extra income here and there for me to do investing.
I have a good balance of my life, I have my free time, I am working with good people. I love my life. But that’s not all. Next point will tell you why I love 2016, because that my biggest discovery.
7. System Makes My Life Simpler
Back then when I’m in NTU majoring in Mathematics and Economics, one of the things I hated most is memorising formulas. Come on! We are in 21st century already, where we have computers and machines which can use formulas better than us. Why the hell are we still testing on memorising of formulas? Shouldn’t we be tested on Application of formulas instead?
You see, I believed that our current education system has gone wrong with the wrong education approach. We are training our brains to memorise stuff, when we doesn’t have to. With a click of the mouse, or the calculator, or even using excel sheet formulas, all the answers can be given to you right away. Why spend all the brain energy memorising stuff?
Instead, i believe we should be using our brains to process information, and make good decisions!!
That is why I believe so much in having systems to make our life simpler!
With systems, we don’t need to memorize the steps to do things. We just need to lay out step 1 to step 5, then follow that steps religiously will do. Nothing will go wrong.
The only thing we need to do, is to use our brain to create the system that works.
That is why Mcdonalds is a largest fast-food chain in the world, because of systems. No one needs to memorise how to make a burger. But anyone can just follow 5 simple steps to make a burger in 1min.
To make my life simpler, i have created different systems in my life.
As mentioned above, I have a personal finance system. I don’t need to memorize how much to save, how much to spend, how much to invest…etc. I follow a few steps, and answers is out.
I also have a system for my side business. I systemized everything, from finding clients, to talking to clients, to closing clients. I systemized so much that I only need to spend 1 hour a day on my side business to make some good side money. (no, it’s not uber or whatsoever).
I also have a system at home to paying bills. Which credit card to use for maximum miles, which to use to pay which bill. No need to think.
I want to use my brain to think of more important stuff.
Are you leaving too much things to memory? Maybe you should systems to make life easier!
That’s all for my sharing for 2016!
I look forward to an amazing 2017 where I will go and discover more amazing things!
P.S. I seldom share my blog posts on social media nowadays. Also, I’m not writing this post to get more likes or whatever. I’m writing to recollect my thoughts. If you so happen to read my post, then I hope you found some gems in it! If you have anything to discuss with me, you can use the contact form 🙂