Saturday, November 14, 2015

How I went from 0 to 100k to 300k+ savings by age 32

Recently, there have been a number of the younger generations (mid twenties) asking how I managed to save... So I decided to write and share my experiences.

Recall that about 2 years ago, the national newspaper has mentioned how it is possible to save 100k by 30 years old. I remember there were quite a number of people who thought it was crazy and undoable, or maybe my memory failed me. Either way, there are a lot of people who achieved that before 30 years old.

Granted, my savings aren't exceptional. I do know a friend who has hit the two million mark when he was age 32 about two years ago. That.... is really exceptional, and I am unable to play at his level at the moment.

I don't want to write a grandmother story, so in summary, these were some of the events that I have been through before today. There were a lot of luck involved, but none involved striking the 4D or ToTo.

1) Applied and successfully gotten a scholarship for university fees
This helped lots. At least it gave me a headstart in 2008, just before the financial crisis. What's more helpful was that the money was not paid directly to the university but to me. I had the opportunity to invest into SPH (around $4 that time) at 6% dividend yield while paying down the school loan at 2.6% interest cuz my dad used CPF for it.

Over the few years that I paid down the school loan, I earned a difference in the interest.

2) Part-time work: Tuition
It was initially a part-time operation. I have never thought it would become a full-time operation, and now slowly turning it into a business instead of a one-man show, though people had asked me about it years ago. Tuition as a sideline income was the single greatest luckiest thing that has possibly happened. It gave me the much needed cash to then invest during the GFC.

3) Investments
I was lucky I made lots of mistakes when I had little money. Honestly, I don't think one should have too much savings before starting; mistakes made won't be that big if one doesn't take on debt for investing.

Also, after taking an interest into the world of investing, I practically crunched every book on it that I think is useful from the National Library. I also talked to a lot of people, and finally come to use the method I am using today. A very simplified, probably still mistake prone, method that worked for me for quite some time.

Finally, I have also been very lucky to be blessed with parents that are still very strong and healthy. I understand some of my friends have been supporting their parents and are unable to really save up.

4) Subsequent resignation into full-time tuition
When I decided to go full-time into tuition, I realised there are so many more things to learn. Working for someone else's dream is really way easier. It was a steep learning curve, much tougher than learning investing. Until today, I'm still learning. I invested quite a bit of my savings into this, but made sure that invested cash in portfolio was untouched.

5) Marriage and housing financial bombs
The big financial bombs... This took more cash than number 4. However, I have to managed the cashflow prudently so that it does not eat into the invested sum of cash.

6) Setting up Examworld publishing
This took another sum of my savings. Finally, the fruits are bearing, and my first book will be out in late Dec, I hope. The business model is almost firmed up as well. Again, invested cash was not touched.

1, 2, 3 gave me the initial capital outlay. 4, 5 and 6 were big cash suckers, but they were funded without much divestments at all.

Which brings us to a very simple rule to generating wealth...

"Invest your spare cash [prudently], and do not divest it for cash sucking events unless absolutely necessary"

It is so cliche, so simple, yet so effective.

Of course, then comes the problems of
(a) How to invest your spare cash prudently, and
(b) How to get the cash you need for the cash sucking events so that you do not need to use these events as reasons to divest your investments

Solve these two problems, and you will be on your way to financial success.


  1. Quote : " (b) How to get the cash you need for the cash sucking events so that you do not need to use these events as reasons to divest your investments"

    This is something that we better get the message stuck into our mind and avoid learning it the hard way ourselves when we have to liquidate our investment during market low.

    1. Fully agree. That will probably be another blog post.
      One of the ways is via insurance. And there are other things too.

  2. Wealth Buch,

    Glad you are back!

    It will be good to have your entrepreneurial voice heard in our community ;)

    Young business owner Jedi, not many of your kind around!

    1. Hey smol. There are many many really good business people around my age or younger. I'm a novice at the game :x

  3. i wonder how many people still notice this post!

    1. Haha doesn't matter. Just voicing out my recent thoughts.

  4. You are still young but have a good start in your investing journey.


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