Sick of the '9-5,' Backstabbing Colleagues & a Dead End Career — Or — Even the Vicious Cycle of 'Work, work, work... Until You Die?'
Early Retirement Is No Longer Just a Pipe Dream for Most
Hi, I’m Christopher Ng Wai Chung, Straits Times Best Seller, author and owner of a popular financial site called Growing Your Tree of Prosperity. I also gained financial independence and retired at age 39.
In 2005, I wrote this book, Growing your Tree of Prosperity:
It became a Singapore Straits Times Best Seller, and it got featured in Me and My Money in the Sunday Times.
How Planning For Early Retirement Changed my Life
You’re probably here because you’re think of your future. Your retirement.
You see, if you’re like me, once a corporate 9-6 guy who worked in a dead end IT job, who slogged away for hours in front of the computer, you can’t help but imagining what the rest of your life would be.
You’re also probably someone who got sold the Singaporean dream: study hard, work hard, get a good job.
When you graduated from University as a fresh graduate, you started your 9-5, taking the long MRT commutes to work daily, going home late, and slowly, something eats something away in you.
You find yourself in constant repetition. Your youth in your 20s, your 30s is slowly seeping away.
You start to wonder, when is this going to end?
You probably hear of friends working 80-100 hours per week, ‘brutal hours’ they call it, unprotected weekends, and essentially being a wage slave.
One of my friend who is in such a job commented that he’ll essentially be ‘out of shape, sleep deprived and single till his 30s’.
There’s no point in working like crazy if you’re just going to fall ill, contract heart disease, or some cancer by the time you turn 40. Retiring then just doesn’t make any sense. There’s also no point in sacrificing relationships, a happy marriage to work a 100-hour work week just because you want to ‘retire’.
You’re also worried about inflation, water price hikes in Singapore, and ‘work life balance’.
So what you need to do is to treat your financial independence and your own retirement like your own BUSINESS. Your own baby. Something you work hard in the name of a great cause: your freedom.
You don’t want to be in your late 20s, 30s or 40s regretting that you didn’t keep a tighter control of your finances. You don’t want to wish they you spent those early years saving and investing your money. Just like all my friends told me: Christopher, talk is cheap, it’ll hit you when you start planning for a family and buying a house.
To be young is to be foolish, to be old… that is to regret.
If you’re in your 30s or 40s,
The Bullshit advice about ‘Early Retirement’
So what do hear about commonly about saving, investing and retirement?
- You need to SAVE MORE!
- Investing is risky!
- Property is the best investment in Singapore!
- Let’s trade bitcoin!
The biggest misconception about retirement I hear from friends and family is that you have to scrimp every single cent. Forgo that Starbucks drink!
Winning the game of financial freedom isn’t about scrimping on everything and chalking up money in the bank. Why should you sacrifice your 20s, 30s, your youth, health and time just to retire early?
That’s not living.
Let’s say you want to get in shape to climb Mount Everest, it’s a lot more likely you’ll accomplish that goal in your 20s to 30s compared than you’re in 40s. I’ll show you how you can master the game of financial independence, have an early retirement by not sacrificing all of these once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
So I’m going to show you how I won the game of retirement by the age of 39 without sacrificing my weekends, overworking myself, still going binge watching Netflix, playing real time strategy games and RPGs.
I also helped clients and friends achieve the same goals as I did. I’ll introduce you to Jane Low, a dear friend of mine.
Jane lost 90% of her total worth. You see, life isn’t perfect, things such as relationships can go awry wrong. That’s just life. She lost her assets in a failed relationship, in a banquet deposit.
She confided in me and I recommended her my book. I passed it to her for free, no obligations. Little did I know that she used the concepts in my book to squeeze her hard earned savings from her bonuses year after year, and used my method to achieve.
The Misconceptions about Mastering Early Retirement for You
There are misconceptions about retiring early, such as: ‘you’ll be f*cking bored and won’t have people to talk to about your life as they’ll still be slogging out at work’.
That’s utter rubbish.
Over the years, I not only helped myself achieve financial freedom and ‘retired’ early but it also gave me the time and lifestyle freedom to pursue my interests: Law School in Singapore Management University (Cum Laude), a masters in applied finance from NUS, passed all three levels of CFA examinations -- achieving my academic dreams.
(SMU Commencement 2017)
Ultimately, retirement isn’t just about being able to travelling the world, spending time with your children or having a worry free lifestyle.
It’s also about pursuing hobbies, life goals that you held back because your finances, just weren’t right.
Or you just lacked the time because you were slogging away at your 9-6 job.
I have smelled the roses of winning the game of financial independence. However, have you, and are you going to?
If it weren’t for these strategies that I spent years to research, test and implement, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. I could easily run off in the sunset, dining and wining in the best beaches around the world. However, deep down, I knew I needed to give back, to contribute, to share how I made financial independence and retirement early and easy to me to the world.
This is why I created my flagship program: Early Retirement Masterclass
These are methods that I created, tested and implement on my own, and amongst close friends and friends through decades. You won’t find this is any other financial site, financial educator, financial gurus or any other places on the internet.
You’ll also not see track records published by any other ‘financial gurus’. That’s because unlike a lot of these so called ‘experts’.
I walk the talk. I am also able to get you to walk the talk, just like how Jane did.
(Funded SGD 250,000 on my leveraged REITs portfolio - earning me $4,805 dividend on June and $4,222 on July 2018 - I'm revealing the strategy on my Early Retirement Masterclass.)
Is Winning the Game of Financial Independence Difficult?
I’m not smarter or more privileged than anyone, I certainly wasn’t born into a rich family. In fact, my life started out quite ordinarily. I inherited my frugal ways from my Dad, who started a Pet Shop Franchise that did OKAY when we were debt free.
However, things took a sour turn. The rent was $1600 a month in Orchard Road in the 1980s. It was difficult to make rent, and that led to my parents arguing. One of toughest lessons in life is to pay rent without assurance that sales can meet the rental demands.
On the flipside, one of the best things you can do is to be a landlord, which is what I did through investing in REITs: Real Estate Investment Trusts.
If you read my story, I got a masters in applied finance and passed all three papers of CFA exams. However, despite that, I still did not know how to make money.
The best books in investing are focused on the US markets.
In the early-2000s, local books were focused on unit trust investing that had management fees above 2.5% and sales charge of 5%.
There were only two REITS being sold in those days: Capital Mall Trust and Ascendas REITs.
I needed to figure out a way to master the local stock markets and the financial models taught in school weren’t really working.
Those days, people were unaware of dividends stocks. I bought Singapore Press Holdings and realized that I could make 6% every year. It took a while to figure out that dividend counters are more stable and, when diversified, can generate income.
Things started to fall into place when I figured out that I can replace my unit trusts with a portfolio of local equity counters.
However, I quickly realized that dividends are not enough.
I figured out that to push myself to make myself richer, I need to increase my earnings and reduce my expenses. Earnings are hard to control, mainly done by job hopping.
Savings are much easier to control, I started on a regimen of aggressive savings.
By age 32, I was spending only 30% of take home pay.
I was also a young bachelor, I only needed very little a month to live on and that was quite a good life a decade ago.
I became financially independent when I got married, the next step is to rinse and repeat what I was doing to use dividend income to support my wife and my children.
The best thing that happened to me.
However, in 2009, I lost a BMW worth of cash in my investments. Life isn’t rosy all the time. That’ just life. However, the REITs I invested in early on were yielding 12% a year.
I continuously put 100% of my income, living on my dividends throughout the 2008 Recession and even achieved leftover dividends into the stock market after paying personal expenses.
Slowly, the stock market recovered and the rebound allowed me to replace income from work.
(Dividend statements (Unleveraged) – June 2018, $7,223.88)
(Dividend statements (Unleveraged) – July 2018, $11,612.89)
However This Course Is Not For Everyone:
If you have credit card debt, you shouldn’t join. If you lose sleep over a slight price movement in the stock market, you shouldn’t join.
If you enjoy scrimping on Starbucks, this isn’t for you.
If you’re looking for some insider stock tips or get quick rich tips on secret investments, you can check out those false gurus.
If you aren’t, and fall into the following categories, then read on:
You are in your 20s. The best time to build a strong foundation is to build, knowledge will pay you dividends in the long run. Forget what your friends, family and teachers taught you about working hard and scrimping. You can now create your own financial future.
You are in your 30s. Let’s say you have some savings and capital to put to work, you can get a positive return in less than 12 months.
You are in your 40s. You probably have some amount of capital to put to work. If you’re letting cash sit in your bank, it’s rotting in the bank, dropping in value, day after day.
Still Not Convinced?
If you’re a boomer. You probably didn’t have a degree with the real estate markets back then.
If you’re Gen X. You probably saw a couple of decades of prosperity and then boom, real estate asset inflation. You’re now currently sandwiched between parents and children.
If you’re a millennial. You’re probably highly educated, but you lack solid jobs. You don’t really own any assets.
Let’s say you’re safely employed. You have a steady career path and cash coming into your bank account every month.
However, here’s the truth of employment, a lot of them are bullshit jobs:
- Some jobs are there to make bosses look good.
- Some jobs involve manipulation and aggression.
- Some jobs involve making quick fixes to ever present problems.
- Some jobs involve going through a list of check-boxes.
- Some jobs involve just managing people who do more bullshit work.
Ultimately, if and when recession comes, you’re going to be easily replaced.
Here’s the truth, staying as a corporate slave isn’t going to work out for anybody.
- Artificial intelligence is disrupting jobs and the way you work, almost replacing you in fact. You don’t want to end up working in MacDonald’s, washing toilets, or cleaning tables for money.
- You face the situations whereby you have short careers, but long liabilities like home loans.
- Home loans you owe to the bank make you cash tight and time strapped to start a side business
- You aren’t born rich, and the advantage from coming from a wealthier family is increasing
- The money making decisions at an earlier age magnifies into HUGE advantages in adult life.
The rich gets richer, and the poor gets poorer. There is a “winner takes all” effect.
Question is, which side of the game are you going to be on?
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