This article was contributed to us by Loo Cheng Chuan.
Since I started the 1M65 (S$1 Million By 65 Years Old) movement three years ago to coach fellow Singaporeans on how to become millionaires, I realised there are largely two reasons why many Singaporeans struggle to become rich:
– They lacked the financial know-how.
– They lacked the sustained motivation.
As I reflect on the past 20 years of my life, I too lacked the financial know-how and certainly did not have the motivation to undertake the marathon journey of building my financial wealth. Many of my 1M65 followers asked me what’s the secret of my financial success today.
Simple: I had a great financial mentor for the last 20 years.
Flashback. It was the year 2001 when the Asian Financial Crisis and the Dot.Com bust financially shattered me with over S$100K of losses in the stock market and property market crash. At 29 years old, I was broke and humbled. I realised that I did not have the right financial know-how and was driven by the greed to get rich quickly.
It was plain luck that I met a financial guru Mr H in 2001. As a self-taught successful financial investor, Mr H was very wise in personal finance. Knowing that I was shattered financially, he probably took pity me and began to coach me. We would meet up once a month for coffee or tea and he would impart the right financial know-how to me. In these lunch and coffee sessions, he would spend time to examine my finances. I would prepare a spreadsheet which I tabled down details of my incomes, savings, investment and expenditures. He would then coach me what I should and should not do financially.
Over time, Mr H taught me many aspects of financial management: the power of compounding, frugality, principle of insurance, achieving the right asset allocation mix, staying invested in financial storms. Not only did he teach me how to “fish”, he inspired me to self-improve my fishing skills by inspiring me to read the right books and do the right research.
Fast-forward 20 years, I have built up my wealth and gained the financial freedom to pursue all my passions. Mr H and I still continue to meet up monthly to encourage each other on life’s journey. I realised that financial mentorship is not merely an impartation of knowledge, but also a relationship to make sure that you stay committed to doing what you know is right.
What did Mr H ask for in return for his 20 years of mentorship? Nothing, except for me to bless others, with the investment know-how that he has imparted to me over the last 20 years.
That’s how I started the 1M65 movement, in the hope of inspiring more Singaporeans to become financially independent, just like how Mr H inspired me. Every month, I would give free talks to educate fellow Singaporeans to become millionaires. To date, I have given 60 talks to probably over 15,000 to 20,000 Singaporeans. I also contribute articles frequently to online financial media like DollarsAndSense or SingSaver, hoping to inspire others.
Here’s a word of special caution: I am not in favor of picking financial advisors as your financial mentors. There is a major conflict of interest as their primary financial interest is to make money from you or through you. Look for financial advisory firms whose incentives are aligned with yours, though they are rare. I believe that financial advisors plays an important role in our industry, just not as your financial mentor.
The profile of a good financial mentor should be one that is financially successful and preferably an investor who has made his fortune through a repeatable financial or business strategy and not a one-time financial windfall, such as an en-bloc sale or winning the Toto lottery. He should be willing to teach and share, ideally freely and have no financial conflict of interest with you.
I know that good financial mentors are difficult to find. Fortunately, nowadays, there are very good financial media and blogs (including DollarsAndSense), which impart good financial know-how to you through their articles. Online financial social communities like Seedly, also provides an online support group that cajoles you to do well financially. Every month in Singapore, there are several personal financial talks organised by various financial organisations that would provide you invaluable knowledge to do well financially. Admission is often free or at very low cost.
In conclusion, over my 1M65 involvement, I would often meet very wealthy individuals. I discovered one secret behind many of their success: successful people are often mentored to success by successful people. For instance, Warren Buffet was coached by Benjamin Graham and Charles Munger. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Larry Page of Google were mentored by Steve Jobs.
I too wish you would get a good financial mentor in your pursuit towards financial freedom.
Loo Cheng Chuan is a father of three and founder of the 1M65 movement. To find out more about the 1M65 movement, you can watch our DollarsAndSense Tonight interview with him: