Business Times Interviews - Starting Young

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Business Times - 14 Nov 2011

Health foodies mixing it up

Brother-sister duo who successfully run two salad shops in SMU eye launching franchise in five years, reports TEH SHI NING

HEALTHY fast food is no oxymoron and is gentle on the wallet too, say Jocelyn and Joseph Chan. This brother-sister duo, 'Chief Saladiers' of a fresh pair of salad shops on the Singapore Management University (SMU) campus, are now banking on others to agree.

Sal Happy Salads' express and bistro outlets may be just two weeks old, but it has been two years since Ms Chan started selling her rice-based pre-packed salads, first to friends and then to other students via SMU's student-run cafes.

'There was nothing really healthy to eat around school, especially if you wanted a quick but substantial meal. So I thought, why not come up with something,' says Ms Chan, who had in mind the busy student whose back-to-back classes from morning till afternoon left little time for a decent lunch.

What first occurred to the 23-year-old 'health foodie' as an antidote to 'boredom and curiosity' in a slow-moving second-year semester soon grew from selling home-made salads into a formalised kitchen-made menu of salads sold via student cafes on campus.

Then came the dilemma as graduation drew near earlier this year: to join the corporate world or turn Sal Happy Salads into a full-fledged affair. Different voices weighed in on either side, leaving her 'very torn between finding a job and setting this up', says the marketing and communications graduate.

But it helped that the only other route she was seriously considering was consulting. So when doors on that front closed and she was granted the lease for the two shoplots at her alma mater, the deal was sealed.

This marked change for her elder brother too. Mr Chan, 30, had chipped in with early-morning preparations at the student-run cafes but took the plunge to join his sister in launching the start-up, leaving his previous job as a manager at a farming company.

'Everything changed really. It was an easy, nine-to-five kind of job, a lot of overseas travelling, quite a soft life,' he says. These days, he gets by with three to four hours of sleep.

The siblings' day begins at 4am and they are in the bistro's kitchen at 4.45am to start on the salads - brown rice with chicken and tofu, egg or pumpkin and soba-based ones. Their other chefs arrive at 7.30am and salad packing goes on until 9.30am, when they transport what's needed to the express outlet on the other side of campus. And while their cashiers start ringing up sales, prep for the next day begins.

Day-to-day operations, now that both outlets have been soft-launched, as well as training and managing their team of six full-time staff in preparation for January's grand opening, occupy their thoughts and time fully now. But they have a roadmap of where they're headed too.

'Ours is meant to be franchise model, fast food 2.0 - a lot of our inspiration we get from McDonald's,' says Ms Chan.

She has set her sights on opening another wholly owned outlet in the next 18 months and launching the franchise in five years.

While that is a long way away, the duo aim to put the building blocks in place now. 'When we plan our HR, our kitchen flow, our systems, it's all with the mindset that eventually, we want to franchise this,' says Mr Chan. 'Whether we reach there that's another thing, but at least from the start that is our goal,' he laughs.

That dose of realism is not unwarranted, as the red-aproned Saladiers are well aware of the challenges of the line of business they have picked.

'In F&B, the main stumbling block is the high fixed cost. Rentals, labour costs, utilities are very high. If you make say a 100 sales, you might be treading water, but if you're making 200 sales, suddenly you're making money hand over fist,' says Mr Chan. 'It's a very good sword, it cuts very well, but if you don't swing it well you cut yourself!'

They expect to break even within two semesters, taking into account the inevitable wax and wane of sales with the school term. The bistro outlet at the SMU Administration Building, which has seating, is thus meant to target their other target customer segment - working executives crowd in the area.

And they seem confident that their differentiated salads, inspired by Grandma's chicken salad recipe and the pasta and rice salads of CBD salad bars, will catch on.

'Salads are usually greens, so because of that it's not very substantial and it's expensive, because leaves are very expensive,' says Ms Chan. 'We're going for fast food. It's meant to be a whole meal, so we use brown rice for a more substantial salad and pre-pack it, so the cost goes down and we can offer fast-food pricing.'

Business is brisk especially during breaks, says Mr Chan. 'Our turnaround per customer is only about 20-30 seconds so we can do a lot of customers within a 15-minute break.'

The duo consider themselves fortunate to have sailed past what is a major hurdle for most aspiring entrepreneurs - finding capital. Sal Happy Salads did not qualify for Spring Singapore's YES! Start-ups funding scheme as it lacked an innovative process, but their father helped by taking a 90 per cent stake.

The Saladiers are quick to stress the business-minded nature of this arrangement though: They have a repayment schedule drawn up to buy back shares from their father.

But beyond financial support, their parents have been supportive with encouragement and practical advice on business and logistic matters, they say. Also, the father of Ms Chan's boyfriend helped with contractor contacts for renovations, while friends with F&B experience chipped in with tips on kitchen planning and the National Environment Agency licence. So the boost social networks has given is certainly not lost on them. They had budgeted for an initial capital outlay of $110,000 for both outlets, but spent $60,000 in the end.

Teething problems with quality and supplies need ironing out too, but feedback from old regulars has helped, as has responsiveness on their part.

'Our pumpkin salad is now really popular, but what people don't know is that based on feedback, we've tweaked the recipe several times in the last two weeks, just to get that sweet spot,' Mr Chan says.

Contrary to commonly perpetuated notions of it 'being so glam to be your own boss', it can in fact feel 'really laborious', he says. 'Every day, you're sweating bullets, missing logistic deadlines, needing to get these 100 pieces in place to push out one salad, it's not glamorous at all.'

Ms Chan too admits it was more stressful than she had expected, 'but now that it's up and things are beginning to even out, it's really enjoyable - not easy, especially in F&B, but really enjoyable'.

And for Mr Chan, more fulfilling than his old desk job. 'Here, I get to see the customers smile, hand them coffee or salad, speak to them - it's a lot more hands-on. It may not be everybody's cup of tea, but for me it's great,' he says.

Calling all young entrepreneurs! If you're between the ages of 17 and 30 and running your own business, we'd like to hear from you. Email with 'Starting Young' in the subject heading to share your story .
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Business Times - 21 Nov 2011

She makes having dream weddings easier


TAKING the plunge into self-employment was a crucial first step to starting her own business, says 26-year- old Jeslyn Ang.

Entrepreneurial daring is not immediately evident in the soft-spoken founder of online portal Wedding Tweets. But after giving up the security of a full-time salaried job in marketing and consumer research for the more fluid business of financial planning, launching her own business was less of a leap.

'Without the plunge into being self-employed with the financial planning firm, I would never have dreamt of setting up my own business. It's not an easy step, to have a full-time job and then move into starting your own business. To be without pay - it's a huge emotional step to take,' she says.

Having taken that first step, she soon found in herself a strong 'drive and motivation to want to succeed'. 'When I was doing just financial planning, I felt it wasn't enough for me. I really wanted to be doing more,' the business graduate from Singapore Management University (SMU) says.

Opportunity knocked when a long-time friend started a blog on wedding planning in Singapore. 'She was planning her own wedding, and she felt the current websites were not able to help adequately in the planning,' Jeslyn says.

Many of the local sites her friend encountered were forum-based and user-generated with outdated links, making online research tedious. So she began compiling her own material in a blog.

'When I saw it, I thought - 'there's a lot of potential for this to be a business',' Jeslyn said. Wedding Tweets is now a joint venture between the two with Jeslyn holding a larger equity stake and managing the marketing of the portal while her friend generates content.

'We want to provide wedding couples with useful resources, all the help they may need - banquet cheat sheets, gatecrash ideas, checklists. And we wanted to offer it to them free,' she says.

These resources, disseminated via weekly newsletters and a Facebook page which has earned close to 13,000 'Likes', serve to generate traffic to the site, which runs on advertising revenue. Traffic to the site has risen 50-60 per cent every month since March, after they launched their first online marketing campaign: a Facebook contest.

The advertising model really depends on how attractive it is for vendors across the gamut of businesses in Singapore's booming wedding industry to pay subscription fees for a listing on Wedding Tweets' directory.

That listing offers features such as the opportunity for photographers to showcase their portfolio, for hotels and restaurants to upload wedding packages, and a promotions tab for easy access to advertise discounts.

The owners are happy with the response so far, having received enquiries from a 'number of big names' among wedding studios, videographers and photographers.

Today, Jeslyn effectively juggles two businesses. This is made easier by the fact that she has now settled into her role in the financial planning business, which is her boyfriend's. Also an entrepreneur, he runs another general insurance business too.

Even so, 'it's kind of like two full-time jobs', Jeslyn says. Both allow her the flexibility to schedule her own time, but 'without passion and discipline, it's very hard to move forward', she says.

A typical day at work for her involves switching back and forth between both businesses. Mornings are usually reserved for work on the website, fielding enquiries and emails. Lunchtime slots are filled with appointments with financial planning clients, followed by sales meetings in the afternoons with various wedding vendors. When evening comes, she often dons her financial planner cap again to meet clients, before heading home to work on Wedding Tweets.

Not that she's complaining; it helps to keep income steady. 'I'd always wanted to do business, but I didn't come from a very privileged background where, say, my parents could give me seed funding to start off with,' she says.

Her business failed to qualify for government grants for young entrepreneurs - which has meant having to scale back on ambitious plans and progressing at a slower-than- desired pace.

Although overheads for an online business are relatively low, both Jeslyn and her partner lacked advanced IT savvy to design the site with the requisite features. 'That was our main obstacle - our vision was that the site had to be very advanced, but we didn't have the technical knowledge and the money to give us that head start as we were putting in our own money,' Jeslyn says. She has had to hire IT expertise on a project basis so far but intends to hire full-time staff soon.

With most of the 100 vendors on their directory so far still on an introductory plan, Jeslyn expects to break even only early next year, when their paying contracts kick in and the site is fully monetised.

She is also fully aware that the industry she has chosen is a competitive one with established players., for instance, has a 10-year edge over a fledgling site like hers.

But that does not faze her much - there is room for a portal like Wedding Tweets as they have a niche target audience in mind, Jeslyn says.

'The main motivation for them to come to us will be to create a unique wedding, but without leaving it entirely to wedding planners. They'd want to have a part to play too,' she says.

Wedding Tweets is not targeted at those looking for budget weddings; it is aiming its content and director listings at weddings in the mid to premium price range. It has also attempted to differentiate its product by holding events every two months - such as workshops or contests online - to keep visitors connected.

Among the benefits of starting Wedding Tweets is knowing all the best deals in town. 'I've become an unofficial wedding planner. I just like to do it and I can help my friends for free with theirs,' says Jeslyn, who has about five weddings under her belt now.

Given her line of business, she is frequently asked what her dream wedding is. 'Honestly, I haven't really thought of what my dream wedding would be. I don't have one in mind. I just like weddings, to see people's weddings,' she says.

But running Wedding Tweets has been another sort of dream fulfilled. 'I never thought I could run my own business, but in my heart I wished I could. So it's kind of like a dream come true,' she says.
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Business Times - 28 Nov 2011

When art meets business

Photographer Hong Huazheng says that it is always about the business, reports TEH SHI NING

PHOTOGRAPHY is art, but it's also his business, says Hong Huazheng. Where the two worlds clash, artists are often left confused and discouraged, but this 26-year-old running his own photography firm is determined to avoid that.

'Photography business - that's two words. But which is more important?' While Mr Hong may wax lyrical to gallery owners and museum directors about the art of photography, 'actually, the truth is, it's always about the business'.

'If you create art that does not know its place in the world, then what's its value?', he says. Which is why, despite the freelance nature of the work that he does, Mr Hong spent most of his final year as a marketing and communications student at Singapore Management University (SMU) composing and refining his business plan.

Throwing all tentative, skeletal ideas of his firm-to-be into every project that he worked on in his final year, Mr Hong sought to flesh out the business, figuring out, for instance, how he would market his company as part of a marketing module.

He and two schoolmates who eventually founded the photography firm with him went to additional lengths to bid for a strategy module, get into the same class and work on a project developing the firm's business strategy, so that they could 'put it to the litmus test' with the 'harsh critic' of a professor teaching that module.

Marketing research, sensitivity analyses, input from the professor and half a year of labour generated a 100-page report on business strategy for their firm. And shortly after graduation, the trio founded Flagship Creatives with a five-digit sum, to deliver commercial photography for advertising, annual reports and other corporate publications.

That initial report still shapes the way that the year-old business is run. While the company 'is not Fortune 500 or anything', they instituted a quarterly review of their business - a financial report accompanied by analysis of its tactics, goals and strategy using a 'Y3' model.

'What are the results from our photographs, are they helping to earn more money? After the photos were published here, or there, did sales increase?' - these are examples of the questions asked and answered, Mr Hong says. 'That's what school taught me, that it's not enough to prepare and set goals, we've got to measure and track.'

He has tasted success so far - he takes home 'significantly more' than the average starting pay of an SMU fresh graduate - but knows that this is the exception rather than the norm. More than 90 per cent of those who have enthusiastically set out to pursue their passion for photography failed 'because they got the business part wrong', Mr Hong says.

Most times, it is not for a lack of clientele or marketing but simply cashflow, which turns out to be the 'biggest pitfall of any photography company'. He has witnessed a good number of ambitious young graduates with grand plans of making a living out of photography buy big studios, vehicles and equipment, instead of renting, only to realise down the line the havoc that can wreak on cashflow.

'It can be very discouraging for fresh graduates, who are 25 or 26 years old,' he says, citing instances of friends who have had to abandon such plans for a 'regular job' to meet family expectations or future financial commitments.

Being strict about cashflow was thus crucial. Apart from an office in the Maxwell area for paperwork and mail, Mr Hong operates out of rented studios and hires teams of assistants, stylists and make-up artists as and when he needs help. Today, both his co-founders are sleeping partners, leaving him as the sole active business owner of what will soon be renamed Hong Huazheng.

This rebranding, too, is something that he has undertaken after much deliberation. 'I know that in this business, I'm trading time for money and there are only 24 hours in a day. So the challenge is to raise the premium I can get on my work. I may earn more than the average fresh graduate now, but they have a career progression track and pay increases to look forward to. I don't,' he says.

His plan is thus to build up the brand, his own name. How? 'By winning awards, joining photography festivals, and widening my horizons by joining not just local festivals but international ones too,' he says.

Mr Hong has had some success on that front, winning a number of awards in interactive advertising and displaying his work at international festivals such as the Cannes Lions and SpikesAlso competition this year.

That his passion lies in experimental photography is evident from the way that he speaks about the two weeks that he spent on his infrared photography of cemeteries at Lim Chu Kang, which won him the top prize at the National Museum of Singapore back in 2009. 'I want to take photos that are provocative, more than a postcard photo, something that makes people think about issues,' says Mr Hong.

Naturally, some of the work that he takes on is less creative than he would like, but he does it anyway 'to put bread and butter on the table'.

The self-taught photographer says that he still sees himself as an artist and photographer, rather than as a retail company. But he will never be 'the artist sitting in the middle of the basketball court doing his art', referring to a scene he witnessed while visiting New York.

'If you want to be a photographer, and you want to shoot for a certain clientele, whether fashion, luxury or whatever, you have to be able to speak their language', not 'shut the world out and say you don't want to talk to anyone, they're all evil', Mr Hong quips.

He thinks that the business environment at SMU and the mix of college mates whom he interacted with there has given him a networking edge that he would not have had he chosen to go to an arts school. 'Starting a business is easy in Singapore, I did mine in three days. Building it up, not so. My experience has proven to me that it's more important who you know, rather than what you know,' he says.
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This series is back again. This time it is Jonathan Seah.

Business Times - 09 Apr 2012

Seeing healthy returns but with lower risk

Jonathan Seah invests in low volatility stocks and Reits, reaping returns of 5-10%, reports AMANDA EBER

For young investor Jonathan Seah, investment inspiration struck unexpectedly. He was looking through his mother's degree thesis work two years ago when he found himself pondering unfamiliar terms he found in her reports. Real estate investment trusts (Reits) such as CapitaMall Trust and Starhill Global were among the names that caught his eye. 'I didn't even know these things existed until I saw what she wrote,' says Mr Seah.

Fortunately, enrolled in Nanyang Polytechnic's diploma of fund management and administration course, he soon learnt more about such investment trusts. And with additional help from investment books and websites, he realised that by taking 'calculated risks', investing was actually 'one of the best options' to make his money grow.

Now 20 years old, Mr Seah invests in low volatility stocks and Reits. He has reaped returns of 5-10 per cent on his investments, which he finds satisfactory.

He credits his burgeoning investment portfolio to being willing to take risks with his money. This, he says, is unlike his friends and classmates, many of whom nursed a 'fear of losing money' that dissuades them from seizing such opportunities.

Q: How did you handle money when you were growing up?

A: When I was very young, I used to spend a lot. I didn't save and handled money very recklessly. Whenever I had money, I tended to spend it.

When I reached my secondary school days, I realised that this was not the way for me. I noticed that I had almost zero savings and felt that was very unhealthy financially, so I tried to start saving at least a small portion.

As time went on, I started to save more and spend less. It became more of spending on things that I really need, not things that I want. Of course, it is occasionally good to treat yourself to things that you really want, but not all the time.

Q: What do you currently invest in?

A: I adopt quite a defensive strategy. So I invest in low volatility stocks with low risk and low returns. The whole market now is in huge turmoil. I tend to stray towards the defensive side, like Reits, which are high dividend-paying.

Q: Could you tell me more about your strategy?

A: I like to go towards the aggressive side, but ultimately it's still my money so I would like to see healthy returns but with lower risk. I invest in dividend paying stocks, stocks that give me higher returns as compared to bank deposits and fixed deposits.

Reits are my specialty. Back when my mom was doing her thesis, I was actually helping her. It kind of grew on me. That was the starting point of where I invested, so Reits are very familiar to me.

Q: What are some of the Reits you are investing in now?

A: Right now, I'm holding onto CapitaMall Trust.

Q: Is this one of your best investments?

A: It is, it is. As I've said, I'm adopting more of a defensive strategy. So if you're talking about capital appreciation of the stock itself, then it's not really evident. But in terms of the dividends, it pays well. It's almost 5 per cent per annum. For me at my age, I think that's quite respectable. It's a good investment that produces good annual returns.

Q: What about your worst investment?

A: As I mentioned, I'm also quite interested in going aggressively into stocks. There was this time when I was quite heavily involved in penny stocks. It was a bad investment for me because it was something that I just recklessly jumped into, with a do-or-die kind of mentality.It was a bad investment, so of course I lost some money. But from that point on, it struck me that before I invest, I need to do more research to know it better. I need to know if this thing is suitable for me and whether my risk appetite is able to handle this kind of investment.

Q: How has what you learned in school helped you invest?

A: In my course, we have modules that teach the fundamentals of investing such as the various stock types and different kinds of investments that you can be involved in.

The internal attachment helped me a lot. There was trading simulation, so we were heavily involved in how to trade stocks and foreign exchange as well. I learnt how to apply what we have learnt in real-life scenarios as much as possible.

Other than the theory-based knowledge that you can get in the classroom environment, hands-on experience is still more practical in today's context.

Aside from that, there was also an external attachment which gave me more exposure to a real life working environment. When you're working outside, everything is dynamic. Everything is ever-changing. You need to adapt and learn new things everyday to handle your work scope.

It's not books that are guiding you, it's how you see things and how you want to do it that makes you handle your job well.

Q: What are your long term goals?

A: Of course, like any person on this world, it is to be financially free. I hope to attain retirement at the age of maybe 40 to 50.

Q: Is there any area of investment you would like to explore in the future?

A: Maybe if the market picks up, I will go into the US market. I'm actually rather interested in their technology sector. So maybe I'll delve into that. But for now, I'll just stay in Singapore and monitor.

Q: Anything else you would like other young people to know?

A: It would be to not be afraid to go into investing. I feel that breaking free out of your comfort zone is actually your first step into investing. It isn't scary at all, once you get the hang of it.

It's actually quite easy to get used to. It's just a matter of time, to see if you are even willing to take that first step. It's worth the try; at least it was for me.
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Reits are his speciality. He is defensive but likes to go aggressive. He is only 20 but was once in penny stocks (he did not say exactly how much he lost). He will go into US market if market picks up. He wants to retire when he reaches 40-50.

I have a lot to learn from him - better (more entertaining) than reading Security Analysis.
Ah! The joys and wonders of youth!

No limits; no inhibitions.

Of course may fall; but will recover faster!
Just google singapore man of leisure
".....diploma of fund management and administration course..."
There was no such course during my schooling time. I would have applied if it was available. Must be difficult to get in?
How about condense the course material into a short course for adult student?
BT has interviewed Calvin Yeo, who runs a blog called "Making Passive Income". I frequently visit and it's one of the better blogs on investing and personal finance! Big Grin

The Business Times
Published April 16, 2012
Value investing the way to go, not speculation

Calvin Yeo tells JOSHUA TAN why he picks income producing assets like properties, stocks and bonds


'To me, it's about timing. When everything is expensive I prefer not to chase, and just enjoy passive income to build up my capital, but when things are cheap I follow Warren Buffet's theory to be greedy when everybody else is fearful.
- Calvin Yeo

INVESTING was never really at the top of Calvin Yeo's agenda, until he left Singapore for his undergraduate studies in America.

The initial "culture shock" for one who had not given much thought to financial planning previously soon turned into wonderment at the novelty of ideas propagated on campus.

"There were a lot of ideas being thrown up. They were always about how to create value," Mr Yeo said. And apart from academic grades, the "ability to generate ideas" was high on the agenda of students, he explained.

This kicked off his financial awareness which, interestingly, was further fuelled by an interest in motorcycles.

"I saw a big opportunity in motorcycle accessories of a certain brand, and eBay was a good place to start with minimal amount of capital," said Mr Yeo. Importing machine parts from China and storing inventory in his home, he soon grew his initial sum of a few hundred dollars by several fold.

In 2003, he started investing in stocks and fixed income instruments, shifting his focus to real estate and dividend investing for passive income when he returned to Asia in 2008.

He is quick to dispel the notion that real estate investment involves speculation. "For me its about value investing. I invest in assets which are undervalued at a specific point in time."

"Speculators don't care about the value, only whether price can go up in the future," says Mr Yeo. "They are betting on the future, and borrowing a lot more than they are comfortable with."

Last year, he started a blog ( to share how he acquired over a million dollars in assets before the age of 30. His posts on financial planning through passive income assets now draw a monthly readership of 15,000 to 18,000.

"There are a lot of people who don't really understand anything about financial planning or investing. Most of them are speculators; whether in stocks or property, they all have the speculative mindset," he said. Hence his interest to introduce investment in assets that create passive income - dividends from stocks, interest from bonds, rental from properties.

Beyond that, he aims to educate people on how to plan astutely and set financial goals with the broader perspective of making their money work better.

Q: What kind of financial planning do you have?

A: Now, my asset allocation is about 70 per cent in property, 15 per cent in stocks, 5 per cent in CPF, and about 10 per cent in cash. Actually property initially was 30 per cent, and the majority was stocks and bonds. I calculate asset value as market value minus debt, so when property values shot up tremendously, some more than doubled, they formed the bulk of my assets. I have more than 10 properties in Malaysia and two in Singapore.

Q: Do you spend more or do you save more?

A: I save a lot more. To me, I'd rather have the money growing at 10 to 20 per cent a year, and when I'm all ready to spend the money I don't have any worries. I do take time to relax, and take a holiday no more than once or twice a year. Also, I try to get better quality merchandise, like clothes and shoes that can last me a long time. It's a bit like value investing! You buy assets which retain their value.

Q: How would you describe your risk appetite?

A: I would say conservative to moderate. When the market is up, I'm usually more conservative. When the market is down, I become more moderate to slightly aggressive. To me, it's about timing. When everything is expensive I prefer not to chase, and just enjoy passive income to build up my capital, but when things are cheap I follow Warren Buffet's theory to be greedy when everybody else is fearful.

Q: What has been your best investment so far?

A: I bought two landed houses, each 2,500 square feet, in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, which is an expatriate area. I bought them in 2009 during the crisis for less than a million ringgit each. Now they have more than doubled in value, to about RM1.8 million (S$734,500) each. With RM200,000, I've made about RM900,000. That's about a 400 to 500 per cent return. I don't think you can get that from any asset cluster other than property.

Q: What has been your worst investment so far?

A: During my university days when I was still trying to figure out my investment strategies, I played around with forex trading, index trading, futures trading. I did technical analysis, trying to time the market to buy and sell shares and currencies within the same day. That didn't turn out very well. I lost a few thousand dollars and that was it. I tried to look at the charts and observe the trends, but really, it's speculative. I'm not a gambler, I can't take that kind of stress - sitting there not knowing whether your price will go up or down.

Q: Any tips to share from your experience in investing?

A: I like income investing. I invest in assets which produce income. I try to buy them when they are cheap, when they are undervalued, so it's like a combination of two strategies. The reason why I choose income producing assets like properties, stocks and bonds is that they produce cash flow. Without having to sell the assets, you continue to make money year after year. And that's important, because you can compound the cash flow over time - a very powerful tool. Over many years, compounded returns can be a lot more than the sum of returns.

Q: What are your long-term investment goals?

A: To continue investing in income producing assets. I'm also running a business to help people plan financially and invest their assets, through private consultation as well as my website. I educate them on investment, or investment management.

Q: Any advice to aspiring young investors?

A: I see many overly ambitious young people, dissatisfied with figures like 10 per cent returns on their investment. You have to be realistic. You're still young, you can still work. As you work, you can slowly build up your capital; if you save $500 a month, after one year you have $6,000, after two years you have $12,000. And through investment it will grow, and when the time is right you buy a property. It's a privilege given by the Singapore government, everybody should make use of it. Start young, start investing in income assets even though it seems very little. Over time, it builds up.

If you're between the ages of 17-30 and would like to share your investing or entrepreneurship story with us, email now
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Thanks for sharing!

Wow, 1mil assets before 30 is super duper impressive.
It seems like he got his pot of gold from the two property investment in KL using loans/leverage.

Wish i had the foresight of property investment for a headstart!

Compounding 1million @ 10% p.a definately feels shiok!!

I will smile just like him on the papers haha!
I believe that he got quite a bit of his initial capital from working as an investment banker where the starting pay is like 10k per month excluding bonus. Not forgetting that he returned to Asia just in time in 2008 with all his savings from working in ib

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