MyPF is pleased to introduce the first article from our new team of MyPF writers. Our very first article is by Viv who is passionate about people & relationships. Her first series focuses on wise gems her grandfather left her, woven into a series we call the AAA – Akong’s Ageless Advice. 

Save, save, save! – These are the keywords my late grandfather used to repeat when I asked him about his secrets to his wealth.

Even as a child, I sensed that my grandparents were wealthier than most. My grandfather was a quiet man who self-taught himself to Mandarin & indulged my grandmother, while my grandmother cooked & ran the household. They both shared a loving and carefree nature that drew me like a magnet. As with most grandparents, they indulged me with many treats that were within their means. Unlike most families though, my treats included vacations abroad and lessons in differentiating genuine abalone from the fakes while dining at upscale Chinese restaurants. They many a time reached out to help those in need & to leave a legacy behind. Truly, they were and are my inspiration to lead a wealthy and happy life. They were not only my grandparents, but my friends, my comforter but most of all, they were my teachers and I’m forever grateful to them for teaching me about life.

One day, leaning against my late grandfather’s arm and burying my face in the newspaper to get a closer look at what he was reading, I suddenly had a headache because I was squinting at the tiny numbers that don’t make sense and the exhaustive list of companies beside the numbers made me fearful about growing up. If becoming an adult entails staring at the long list of company’s names and making sense of the numbers daily, I’d rather choose not to grow up. Never mind the posh cars that I won’t be able to drive or the exotic holiday destinations I’d never visit or my dream bungalows that I won’t be able to live in if that is what adults do on a daily basis. Curious, I asked my late grandfather what he was reading and if he needed to look at it on a daily basis.

Setting his newspaper aside on his lap, he turned to me and smiled. He told me that he’s looking at share prices. As would any inquisitive child, I asked him what shares are and if he needed to look at them daily. He laughed and said, “unless you’re buying and selling every day.” Dumbfounded and even more confused, I probed further. I didn’t know what I was getting into. He then went on to explain what shares are and why he buys shares with the intention of investing it long term. Thus, began lesson 101 on investing in shares and what to look out for prior to buying shares from a company. Just then, the postman pulled up at my grandparents’ house and sounded his motorcycle horn profusely so someone would go collect a registered mail from him. My late grandfather collected his mail and opened it while walking back into the house.

After reading the contents of the letter, he took out a cheque enclosed with it and showed me. I had never seen any 6-figure amount on a piece of paper and was utterly amazed at the sum of money. My late grandfather then explained that the company which he had bought shares from more than 20 years ago have recently been acquired by another company and they are giving him his share of the dividend or profit. I was speechless. I can’t recall what happened next but I remembered asking him what other ‘good’ companies to buy shares from and how else can I make a lot of money like him. He told me that he invests in properties too and he buys them in cash because he doesn’t believe in borrowing loans and repaying them back with interest. After acquiring one property, he advised that it be rented out to gain passive income to acquire more properties in future. Again, I asked him how he did it and without batting an eyelid replied, “Save!”. “How can one save so much to buy houses in cash???”.

He laughed and again repeated the key words. – Save, save, save!

That was a long afternoon for me but one in which have been etched in my heart and memory forever. I will never forget my late grandfather’s wise words and ways. I would never have known his secret to a debt-free life had I not asked and listened to him that afternoon. The ‘good’ company he mentioned to buy shares from has been performing exceedingly well and I’ve gained more than 400% in profit for keeping the shares for more than 4 years now. I’m also saving whatever I can when I have the extra funds in order to purchase more properties in the near future. I try not to buy drinks whenever I’m out but bring my own water bottle because that’s what my late grandfather did. I would only spend within my means and not buy things I don’t need to impress people I don’t know because that’s what my late grandfather taught me. I also don’t drive a posh car or live in my dream bungalow because he didn’t too. Not now at least.

Although saving is my late grandfather’s mantra, he also understands the difficulty today’s generation face in saving due to higher inflation, interest rates and the ubiquitous entertainment avenues that keeps mushrooming. He was always advocating for a balanced life – saving and spending without getting pulled to either extremes. So, how can today’s generation afford a house, a car, invest and spend at the same time? Like my late grandfather always say, “save!”. The little saving that I had when I started working 6 years ago had snowballed today and I can now see the importance of setting aside however little I have when I can.

I still have a long way to go before I can enjoy my grandparents’ lifestyle but I know I’ll get there eventually. Thanks Akong for teaching me your trades and inculcating the importance of savings in me. As promised, I will always save and be prudent in my spending. That’s one of the ways that I can honour you. I miss and love you very much.

Akong’s Ageless Advice (AAA)

1. First Advice – Spend within your means
Spend within your means (without stinging). Live a lifestyle that fits well within your income levels.

2. Second Advice – Live debt-free and humbly
Live debt free & humbly. After you cover your basic expenses & needs, focus on clearing all your debts. (except maybe properties in some circumstances). Once you are debt free, it is so much easier & faster to accumulate wealth.

3. Third Advice – Investments
Invest in shares, properties & businesses. These are the same investments that made many people wealthy from way back until today.

4. Fourth Advice – Buy shares long-term
Buy shares long-term for investing. Set your rules. Do your homework. The average investor underperforms compared to the market because we let emotions get in our way.

5. Fifth Advice – Save, save, save!
Save as much as you can today & enjoy tomorrow’s snowball (with your kids & grandkids too!). If you realise that a dollar today is worth much more in the future, you look at dollars in a different way.


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