I am 'off' today ... and I am glad I will be able to do many little things that I have pushed aside for a while, such as recyling those boxes/plastics!
I will continue to do some shopping later ... I have spent a little last weekend, buying 'Lois' t-shirt, jacket, pants ... and today, I will get myself a Lois boots. The last time I bought a Lois-products(over-priced but they are my fav brand, besides 'Camel') was 20 years ago ... when I just came out from Uni to work. A RM100 jeans is like 8% of my income back then. But, today RM150 is not really big. THAT is the huge difference when I mean being 'frugal'.
Let me see ... I started with a salary less than RM800, with very little tuition back then. It was in early 1990s. I remembered I was teaching Further Math in Chung Hwa, Jalan Ipoh ... paying me RM50 per hour and I was so excited as it was VERY big. I rewarded myself by buying Lois-jeans!! How naive ... and financially retarded. There is no big jump in my salary and I realised that I will never do well, financially. But, I never take any steps to improve my financial aspect of my lives. I was reading many self-help books ...to get myself motivated, positive thinking etc etc ... yes, one of my first book was "Magic of Thinking Big". So, I do spend RM50 per month for books ... another RM50 for first-day cover as I was a stamp collector. Ouch ... reflecting on how financially-retard I was .... err ... I was very ashamed of my ignorance. Haha ... everyone around me would know that well, I feel that money is the 'roots of evils' and for me to stay away from those evils, I ignored the importance of having some money. I was broke ... with no cash in hands, very little savings ... while I started my first usage of credit card ...
The little savings I have, I will donate it to charity homes as I felt they needed it more than I do. Err ... kindness mis-placed, I guess. I was support two kids thru world.vision, charging RM50(each), through my credit cards too. Today I realised that is not the way we do charity ... we give when we have extras, we can have extras when we earn more than we use .... so, we must increase substantially our earnings, reduce our un-neccesary expenses ... and give some small portions of our savings for charity!! In fact, I m leveraging on my tratles group ... as they appreicated my sharing/teaching with them, and with many kind hearted members in my group ... I could collect more to give away!! What a change in my mindset ...
I have my first card at age of 28 ... terrrible way of using money, and only managed to pay the 'minimal'(used to be 10% of the balance ... but was so glad that they reduced it to 5% as my credit card debt swelled) ... I worked harder ... giving more tuitions, travelling every corner of KL to give tuitions in my bike(mind u, I don't ride kap-cap, I have Suzuki 150, thinking of buying Virago 250!! haha). The more I earned .... the more I spent on products, items ... and to keep up with the Jones!! Sound common? I am just an extreme person ... if you say lecturers are not financially savvy, I m really the extreme idiot. I admit that I was ashamed ... haha ... I could laugh at my stupidity today .... as I am going into another extreme end!!
I went to Sabah, KK .... being broke. I was too ashamed to face my family and do not wish to let them know my financial situations or burden them in any way. I felt so stressed as I worked harder .... more tuition(the rate was RM30-RM40 per hour back then) ... to pay my credit cards. I have applied for the second one. I have the latest HP-desktop costing RM5k which I paid by instalments!! I have the motorola-flip, a new hype back then. The mobile phone costed me RM1500, which is MORE than my one month salary!! You get the picture of the young naive, financial idiot lecturer ... ruining himself financially. Yes ... I want peace ... I really love Sabah so much, tho I missed my family and friends, I enjoyed staying in an easy going place. I used very little money and earn just enough for daily expenses ... except my bowling .... that was my main expenses(RM500 per month ... which is about 15% of my salary!!).
I was stressed again ... realising that I do not have anything much ... for marriage and kids. I was not financially prepared for that. ouch. That was merely 7 years ago ... so, I borrowed some money, loans and from my mom/aunties. Yes, another ashamed part of my lives .... imagine at age 38, you do not have money to get married? Haha ... silly me, I will say ... but that hit me too hard .... I woke up!! I stopped bowling totally!!
Being frugal ... delayed gratification ... yes, I started to read financial books and many financial-guru will mention about it. What is it all about delay gratification?! Personally, I am a simple person and I do not use items, I do not buy anything much. One of the first financial book I bought is Robert's RDPD. Then, I bought a few more ... interesting, how come I never think of being financially free? Yes ... financial freedom is something many dream of .... but how many of them could be realistic, work hard and smart on it .,.. increase our financial knowldge substantially?
I was still in huge debts ... with me paying the minimal to my two credit-cards. It sounds 'impossible' back then that I will ever get out of debts!! I started to 'goreng' keropok' after my full-time teaching job!! That is another very very grueeling looong story that majority will not believe, I was stupid-naive to think that I want to build a business, modelling my wife's bro-in-law. The partnership with my colleagues did not last long .... just a few months, they quitted(due to friction with me ... I want to work even during CNY) ... but I did not. I continued to goreng-keropok, sell my products to shops. It was very tiring, and I see no future in developping my business plan(I was selling Kurma, Raisins, Nuts ... and yes, I learnt about the different types of Kurma or nuts. haha).
The year was end 2007 ... my baby boy is almost 2yr then. I was still broke, tho I have increased my tuition. I have 2 years of financial knowledge, rented a house near school to give tuition, living in very minimal ... with a small kancil which I could barely afford to pay. At times, I have to skip a month of payment due to financially tight(I have to pay the supplier of my raw materials!!).
I started my stock-market monitoring .... basically Sabah-related stocks such as Ngui-Khee, Karambunai, HapSeng ... also few household names such as AirAsia, MAS, Astro, KFC etc .... anyway, I was not in market yet as I was collecting some money for my venture. It was very hard ... but after 2 yrs of struggled, I managed to collect about RM10k for my initial capital .... I am ready for KLSE!! Vroom ... end of 2007, KLCI reaching new high ... yes ... I m proftting. Finally, I will be financially free ..... ooppss ... spoken too fast, heck ... BN lost some seats ... and the MAC 2008 plunge caught me off guard and being naive in markets, I do not know how to ... err ... cut-loss? Haha ... well, the 2008 Nov killed me of ...
If not for my understanding of that market will recover, and learning is a long journey, I would have gave up ... as I lost so much of my very very hard earned money and I was still in debts. I started this blog in proper ... to record my trades, analysing markets and many more news related in daily basis. I enevr give up .. not even a day. In fact, I was so persistent, I done so many newbies/novices mistakes ... blunders that I could laugh at now(and sharing with many novices in my tratles group) ...
Fast forward today ... it was merely 7 years ago, I was a total idiot, financially. I knew NOTHING about money ... from earning, using, saving, investing ... growing our wealth ... what a nightmare it will be if I was still so stubborn to stick to my idiotic mindset, telling everyone money is not everything, not important .... roots of all evils. It is NOT .... it is just a NORMAL people who could not get themselves financially better off, putting such words in order to console themselves. I realised that now ... I do not want to live in denial, but face the reality ... when it comes to money, I want to increase my knowledge ... and that is the greatest lesson I have learnt, a looong hard way.
If you have been following my writings years back, you will see how I progressed ... and I will still write till the day ... I am financially free, when I could do things I want to do, close to my heart. At the moment, I still have a very gruelling long journey ... in my quest to be financially free.
Being frugal is a must to me ... no matter how much u earn, in order to move forward, we need to be frugal. I am an extreme case ... I know but I have allowed some luxury since last year such as changing my very old mobile-phone to a smart-phone etc etc. I will still ride my kap-chai to work, will still drive my Proton for 3-5 years to come. One day, when I said I changed my car to Honda, then ... I must be earning 5-10 times what I am earning right now.
We need to increase our income ... and I have done that well since 3 years I came back to KL. I have tripled what I earned back in Sabah, and by next year ... I will start my plan in writing a book (or e-book, been delaying the idea) ... etc etc .... and I will want to see more streams of income(pipeline) ... in order for me to double what I am earning today!! That is my plan ... for increase my income, while maintaining my frugal living. Be simple. Be humble.
I have cleared my credit cards, and left with car/house loans which I will maintain that. I bought a cheap apartment(RM155k + RM20k reno) ... and wanting to buy an office-lot for setting up my own office.
At the same time ... I will want to increase my financial knowledge, trading-investing ... in stocks, moving into properties(thinking of auction properties). The idea of leveraging on bank's money ... and also ... I must learn to promote myself well. My tratles have been very kind to point out to me my wekanesses such as my presentations. My knowledge is very valuable to many of them and they appreicate that as I charge cheaply. Someone told me that I am too cheap ... and the public preceived cheap as not good?
Yes, it is never easy ... to breakout from the financially-idiot mindset. It is not easy to understand that trading needs lots of sacrifices to learn well, time and money. Nothing comes easy to us, I believe.
I hope my financial stories, tho not in details, will inspire some young ones to START early .... start buying some financial books, reduce the games or movies ... and focus to increase you knowledge. Specially dedicated to teachers and lecturers, who are content(or trapped?) in their teaching line ... thinking of getting financially better off. Work on it.
If a stupid-idiot person like me could move on higher, many many more would certainly do it better and faster. That is what I believe too. I told a collegue of mine, in his early 30s ... and with so many tuition classes, he SHOULD be a millionaire by age of 40s.
I will always remind myself to be humble ... and now I could donate more than I could previously. Do tell me ... when I am losing my mind, and started to feel 'big-headed'.
Enough blah blah ... it is not for those skeptics to read but whatever written here is a fiction, just stories in a hope to help to inspire/motivate those who are struggling financially like I was ...
QUOTE : Everyone who got where he is has had BEGIN where he was.
Howard Jones - Things Can Only Get Better
Thank You notes
Want to thank God for His grace and love. Want to thank my wife and kids for giving me the daily drives I needed. Want to thank my mom/aunties, bro-sis for always being there. Want to thank all my tratles for trusting and sharing with me. Want to thank my readers for being supportive. Want to thank many more people who coloured my lives, otherwise it is a dull black-white.
Thanks everyone. Thanks Malaysia.
Need to go for some shopping.
p/s : Tratles, you all will see that I will be well-dressed soon. No more laughing at my ah-pek dressing, ok? haha