Chua Wei Yi, Seedly Student Ambassador 2020/21 at Seedly
Updated on 10 Nov 2020
This article made references to previous article: https://seedly.sg/opinions/can-you-be-rich-like-li-ka-shing-if-you-want-to
Previously, when I finished my last opinion article, I thought to myself "People might not want to be businessman like Li Ka-Shing, because they love doing their down to earth humble jobs. Who says that being a teacher can't be rewarding?"
But unbeknownst to all, it is highly possible that that AH PEK who walks to the coffeeshop to have his meepok noodles is actually a Prodigious Accumulator of Wealth (PAW) and a 'Millionaire Next Door'
Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko researched the profiles of 'millionaires' and discovered that they hold these few qualities.
Any income level
Invest even when their incomes are low
Do not compare themselves with people who have expensive lifestyle
Varying education level
Some terminology to understand:
AAW(Average Accumulator of Wealth) = age x annual income x 0.1
UAW(Under Accumulator of Wealth): when your assets fall below AAW
PAW(Prodigious Accumulator of Wealth): when your assets fall above AAW
Yes! it really doesn't matter to some extent how much you earn if you want to be a millionaire. How is that possible?? Well let me introduce to you John, a 27 year old who earns $3,000 as a Bus Captain with Tower Transit.
AAW: $3,000 x 12 x 27 x 0.1 = $97,200
Well how do you do it? Easy, assuming he starts work at 21, he just has to save 50% of his income for the first 6 years. There after, he should continue this savings rate till maybe when he starts a family.
Okayyy, numbers don't lie you must be wondering how does he get to $1 million then?
Assuming he saves $750 a month after that because he has to pay for a HDB flat. And he invests smartly to get about 7% PA
At 37, he will have $315,555.14
At 47, he will have $745,092.76
At 57, he will have $1,590,058.27
Sure, haters will say that there are still many factors unaccounted. But, it is logically and Mathematically possible. If John is lucky, he will get there sooner, if not, he will get there, but longer.
Always remember to invest first, spend later. 20% of UAWs keep most of their cash in cash or near cash accounts (investment accounts such as a bank accounts that have low interest rates, high liquidity) so that they can have quick access to cash when consumption habits rise. But if you left you invested your money in illiquid, but high-yield assets, not only you earn more interest, you also save yourself from spending too much. Double Jeopardy!!
Additionally, PAWs spend over 8 hours a month on financial planning. A benchmark you can set yourself.
Most UAWs are possessed by possessions. According to a study conducted by Yale, individuals measure the level of their success through comparison to nearest neighbors and/or closest relatives. Therefore, as the level of income rises, so will their desire to outperform those that they compare themselves to.
In simple terms, it is also 'Lifestyle Inflation', in which you increase your spending as you earn more which also explains why you go crazy when you think about how you survived school with just a $10 a day pocket money.
The thing is if you spent like how you spent when you were a student and still be happy about it, it is a win-win situation. How to be happy about it? By comparing yourself with role models. Friend's got a car? No sweat. Keanu Reeves takes the subway.
You might think getting a degree will help you get rich faster because of the high pay you would potentially be getting. But remember, people who apply to get a degree also get a delayed start in the accumulation race. Most of the income during these educational pursuits is used to fund tuition, housing, and student loans rather than investments.
The second reason is society has prescribed a lifestyle to these professions. Have you ever seen your lawyer/CEO friend eat cai png for lunch at kopitiam? Very rarely they do. Their lives become a high consumption lifestyle, which places them at a huge disadvantage compared to John, our bus captain who saves diligently. Which goes back to the point above, it will be good if you are happy without having to keep up with the Kardashians.
All in all, throughout the 2 opinions I have written, I would like to conclude it in one point. All our financial journeys are going to be different, but what is important is your mentality. The financial independence game is a long one. Hustling for long periods is almost impossible if you don't enjoy it. It is important to set your mind right with the mentality that it is okay if you don't become a millionaire in 5 years as long as you enjoy the journey.
Attaining Financial Independence is not a goal, it is a way of life.
Also, I'll probably write something else next time.