I attended Christopher Ng’s Retirement Masterclass Preview on 1st November 2018. He achieved Financial Independence at age 39 and stop his career in IT. I brought my book to meet the author himself and he signed on the front page. I hope he will become very famous one day and my book will appreciate in value! Christopher is the blogger of Growing Your Tree of Prosperity. I will want to put in the disclaimer that this is a post on things I learnt from the preview and I am not incentivized if you sign up his course. I will strongly recommend to consider his two days course. I will explain why later, read on.
I will not talk about his background here and you can read up in his blog.
1- Crossover point
I have read this in Vicki Robin’s Your Money or Your Life and this was further elaborated in the course. I think he can teach on how to measure your true hourly rates during actual course whether your boss is underpaying you or when you are comparing two different assignments. Back to crossover point, you will achieve financial freedom when your passive income is more than your entire monthly expenses. Like himself, I am pretty anal in terms of tabulating my monthly expenses. I will use a spreadsheet to capture all the expenses with the help of credit card bills and receipts. Then I will analyse which area am I spending too much money on and whether they are needs or wants. Refer to below image, you can tabulate your whole passive income versus household monthly expenses. It is very important to be disciplined in saving money and cutting down on unnecessary expenses.
2- Earn More, Spend Less and Invest Better
The title says it all. It is important how you can increase your day job income or you can take on part time assignment, start a business or take on free lance gigs to increase your income. To spend less is to cut on unnecessary expenditure, maybe if you cut down on window shopping will help you to save more money. My Achilles heel is buying books. I was never a reader since young but upon graduation, I was addicted to buying books. 11 years ago, I will read anything on management, leadership, marketing and other business books, then I transit into reading trading (technical analysis) books before reading value investing books. Recently, I am reading history and philosophy books, maybe it has got to do with age. Back to books, I need to cut down on spending on books. I am buying used books from Dignity Mama bookstore which helps support special needs children. Do visit and support them! To invest better, you need to learn from others and through a community, you can leverage on one another’s knowledge and effort. This is one of the key reasons why I will recommend that you can consider attending Christopher’s course.
3- Singapore Dream is dead
The Merdeka generation are fortunate as they can get a job without degree. They can generate wealth by property and enjoy the Singaporeans’ 5Cs dream. The Generation X are given bullshit jobs, experiencing technology disruption and are the sandwiched class. The Generation Y are also called the NINJA generation. NINJA represents No Income, No Job and Assets. There is increasing inequality, bestowed with the gig economy, skill depreciates at a very fast rate and little to enjoy from real estate wealth.
3 Secrets of Early Retirement
Use your margin account 3% to buy REIT which gives you 6-7% dividend yield and you pocket the differences. I will suggest before you start doing this, you need to equip with certain knowledge to calculate your margin coverage, understand the REIT or stock which will look into its competitive advantage, payout ratio and debt-to-equity ratio. I am using this strategy with 7% of entire portfolio on margin.
Look for information, study the dogs of STI with highest yield stocks can produce 12.9% in last 10 years whereas STI achieves only 6% in last 10 years.
What happened if market crash? Market usually recovers after 2 years of recession. During the crisis, the dividend yield of REITs are very high which can achieve 17-20% yield. When that happens, just have faith and buy the right REITs and collect dividend. 5 years later, you will be like AK and Christopher with companies completely free and continue to print money (passive income of 17-20%). To improvise, I will combine Secret #1 and Secret #2 together to achieve the ultimate dividend income machine!
I stayed on throughout till the end to speak to Christopher and fellow like minded people. I tried to add value to Christopher and convince a 28 years old girl to sign up for the course. My rationale is she comes from a humble background with a hunger to succeed in life and provide more for family, she has limited resources and wants to know whether this money is worth the investment. She is invested in ETF. I told her knowledge is power and you have 7 days money back guarantee after the course, there is no risk on your part. Deep down, my key reason to get her to attend is because from past experience, I know if you invest money without proper knowledge, you will lose more money than you can imagine in the market. She can gain much more if she attains the right knowledge early in life.
I shared with Christopher that like himself I had already “lost” a BMW in October. He told me to persevere and this is buying for future freedom. His other advise to me is continue to stay put in my present job, stay until my passive income is more than my present day job income then I can safely call it a day. During the market recession, I will continue to live off investment dividend income and reinvest all our work income into buying more shares.