4 Steps To Retire Early (financial education for beginners)

Passive income is an enabler

Sorting out your money and investments from an early age is one of the most powerful “power moves” that you can ever do for yourself and your loved ones.

It can enable you to

  • retire early,
  • be more selective of your jobs and colleagues,
  • gives you a whole lot of options in life be it
    • more travel
    • buy stuff you like or
    • even be more generous to people you care for such as spouse, parents, family and friends

It can mean living behind a good portfolio for your kiddos/next generation. Or live very comfortably in a country of your choice. Or afford necessary but expensive medical bills.

I cant stress it enough, and I dont get bored of saying this again and again.

4 Steps + Persistence.

It’s not complex like rocket science.

It has 4 main components:

  1. Calculate how much you spend per year. If you’re like me, not detailed, then you can go rough estimate based on food, mortgage/rent, utilities, transport costs etc.
  2. Take this yearly expense and multiply it by 30 to be more conservative (a min of X15 is usually “good enough” but for myself, I recommend a higher multiple).
  3. Save as much as you can, optimizing your expenses and whittling out expenses you can do without and invest into investments that you understand (very important) and returns at least 10% to you.
  4. Keep going until you hit X15 of your annual spending, and keep going. You should enjoy some of the dividend/investment returns, but reinvest as much as possible.

That’s…it. Nothing fancy shmancy. The hardest is probably #3 because it’s boring and takes time as well as persistence over a period of time.

Is it hard? Heck yeah.

Is it important? HELL YEAH!

Some things you can do to accelerate this:

  1. earn more, be it by starting a side hustle to invest more
  2. increase your savings rate by cutting out stuff you dont care about. Put in your bonuses as well

My favorite tried-and-tested way to save $1K (and more) every month

Short TLDR answer

  • Step 1: main bank account receives all incoming money
  • Step 2: create digital savings account for one purpose – SAVINGS. No debit card to this account.
  • Step 3: every month when money from salary gets banked in, X amount goes into savings account.
  • Step 4: spend only from main account

That’s it.

I spend from main account only, and whatever is in savings account, I send majority if not all into income-generating-dividend stocks. Not only does my savings happen automatically, it is used mainly to grow my investment portfolio.

Rinse-repeat-rinse-repeat.

I thought everyone does this (because it’s second nature to me), and I realized that I’d been doing this intuitively/logically for years, but it’s not the most natural thing for everyone…because most people’s nature is to either

  1. Spend all they have / can OR
  2. They have too much bills and too little month

The 50% solution for problems #1 and #2

  • Problem #1: Spend all they have / can is more of an impulse problem
  • Problem #2: They have too much bills and too little month — can be a combination of impulse problem as well as not earning enough

I’m gonna write about dealing with impulse-buying.

Personally, I know that I am not very strong-willed, because I have finite energy. When I’m alert and well-rested, I’m super on the ball and I can make the best decisions….but conversely, I realize that I make really, really stupid decisions when I’m tired (such as end of the day) or when I have too much money (eg more than $1K in my bank account).

Some examples:

  1. At the end of the day, my ability to eat healthily goes out the window. One tub of ice-cream? Sure, why not 2? Lol.
  2. When I’ve $1K in my account, I get itchy and wanna spend. And once I’ve spent it, the next day, post-spending clarity sets in and I ask myself: why the fuck did I buy this rainbow sock?

I’ve too many examples where willpower is sexy but it doesnt work all the time. So I’d rather get willpower out of the way and make it a system. Make earning more money or investing more money automatic.

Then my approach will work for you ie automatic deduction into a hard-to-reach bank account. I make it even harder to squander that savings by immediately using the savings to buy income-generating dividend stock.

Well if I’m gonna use it, I’m gonna buy shit that makes me more money right.

Earning more is never wrong

Eemotional/brainless/impulse-buying is one thing, and I can circumvent that to an extent by auto-savings like above.

BUUUUUUUT 50% of the time, most of our money problems will be solved by simply earning more. In fact, let me take it one step higher:

Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats earning more – it just opens up more flexibility and choices be it in spending and investing.

I will write and share in a different post. Today, we’ll just talk about dealing with that monkey/lizard in our brain that just wanna spend and fuck.

I fell again and again, the first doctor thought I had a stroke! (strong reminder to retire early)

Resources (Affiliate Links)

  1. Get 2 free websites + learn how to build an online business nigelchua.com/wealthyaffiliate
  2. Get a business logo nigelchua.com/fiverr

Falling and falling again

I still remember how I woke up in the morning of 20th May 2022, and as I got out of bed, I fell to my right onto the floor. I thought it was just too early in the morning and “my body hadn’t woken up” lol, so I stood up, but my body and head suddenly lurched to the right side, and I had to hold onto the wall to steady myself.

Even brushing my teeth I had to constantly and actively try to keep my body and head upright straight (kept feeling like it was falling right). Good news is that I didnt feel any numbness or weakness in my right, but to be safe, I told my wife what happened and asked her to bring the kids to school.

Lying down didnt make me feel like I’m falling to the right. Those experiences only came in sitting or worse in standing. It got a little better, and I slowly moved to the cupboard to pack my bag so I can check myself into the hospital.

At the hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department, the nurses there told me that there were no rooms available, in that hospital.

Ugh.

I asked to see the doctor anyway, since I was there already.

He was worried, and checked for sensation, movement, strength, stability. He wanted to do a brain MRI just in case, but I told him I wanted to ward for it but since cant ward as there was no bed, and as I felt about 40% better, I opted to make an outpatient appointment with the neurologist the next day.

Next day, when the neuro assessed me, he assured me that it wasnt a stroke and told me to go home – I was definitely assured.

Reminder To Retire Early

This incident definitely gave me a kick in the ass reminder to not waste time, and to work on my early retirement game plan, and finally execute it.

To stop fluffing around wasting time and get retirement cashflow income and investments sorted so that we can focus on the stuff that’s most important to us.

I dont know you personally, but I can confidently say this – time is the greatest resource, secondly only to love. If you have dreams to love, dreams to pursue things that you care for and are willing to die for, then, as quickly as possible, please, for your best sake, to build your portfolio of income-producing assets.

Make as much as you can, save as much as you can and keep investing in good assets that keep producing income for you and your loved ones.

Salaries will kill your hopes and dreams (here’s what to do about it)

Resources (Affiliate Links)

  1. Get 2 free websites + learn how to build an online business nigelchua.com/wealthyaffiliate
  2. Get a business logo nigelchua.com/fiverr

Salaries Are Dream Killers

Salaries are a drug that many companies use to kill your energy, time, motivations and dreams. It makes it comfortable to keep working for a salary as it pays the bills…at the expense of your hopes and ideals.

I get it, we all start somewhere, and we need to eat and have roof over our heads. I understand. But dont give up on yourself and your dreams – it is worth it to fight for a life worth living.

Do watch the video to find out the 3 ways salaries will kill your dreams, and what the 2 things you can do about it.

Grow Your CRO Faster (what I’m doing to grow my CRO bag update)

I’ve been a cronos (CRO) crypto hodler since 2019, when it was first known as MCO (monaco coin). Went through the rebranding process and conversion, and boyyyyyyyy things have changed a lot since I started back then.

In a previous video, I shared on the 6 ways I used to grow my CRO bag then, but as there’s been lots of changes since then, I’m updating the most current way I’m growing my cronos crypto stack.

Watch the video for the delicious 2 core ways, and find out the 3 bonuses too if you use the method I am using to grow my CRO and CRONOS crypto coin =)

Lost all my crypto?

What happens if I lost all my crypto holdings and portfolio?

I had a nasty nasty nightmare, that woke me up in shock and it took a couple minutes before I realized it was a dream (it’s a scary realistic nightmare man).

It’s probably a combination of trauma and reminder of my deep-seated unspoken fear about investing and speculating in cryptocurrencies (so easy to lose all your holdings by losing your security keys!)

…especially triggered with the recent UST – Luna – Anchor Protocol crypto collapse as well.

Deep and very serious reminders to:

Do not invest more you can afford to lose

Dont invest more than you can afford to lose and definitely, definitely do NOT borrow to invest (speculate or gamble) in high risk investments.

Crypto is definitely highly volatile and you can lose everything you put in there.

Take profits

My 2X rule now is that whenever an investment 2X (or ideally 3X), I need to take out 1-1.5X out.

Let the remaining amount go as far as possible.

Diversify beyond crypto

Don’t go all in or balls-deep into crypto (or any ONE investment).

Look, I believe in crypto, but it’s highly volatile AND doesn’t provide me cashflow like rental or dividends, so me and missus are now researching into income-generating assets to diversify into.

Start a side hustle to

  1. diversify your income (multiple sources of boss-less income)
  2. grow your network
  3. profits can be used to invest in other income-producing assets or reinvested
  4. potential to grow and scale

Remote bookkeeping side hustle? (really?? How much can you make per hour?)

Resources

  1. Free website tool to promote your virtual bookkeeping business http://nigelchua.com/wealthyaffiliate
  2. Online Payment (paypal.com, payoneer.com)
  3. Accept crypto payments, create account here https://nigelchua.com/crypto
  4. Hire freelancers to design your logo and namecards here https://nigelchua.com/fiverr

Bookkeepers are very, very important professionals in any businesses (even personal lives too, if you take your money seriously).

They

  • make sure your revenues and expenses are tracked carefully
  • bank statements are reconciled and tallies
  • any outstanding amounts are chased after
  • can even do payrolls and more

…but that being said, one of my biggest weakness…is that I cant stand to do bookkeeping and accounting.

I know cos I’ve been paying for remote and virtual book keeping ever since I started my first business, waaaaaaaaay back in 2008. I remember the first month of me futilely trying to do the accounts. It was so difficult, stressful and I dont know how many hairs I pulled out of my head in frustration.

More than 48 hours but still doesn’t tally or makes sense, whimpering, sad noises.

And our accountant sorted out in just 1 business hour lol – very obviously my lack of attention to details works against me. And knowing fellow entrepreneurs like myself, I assure you that bookkeeping will never, ever go out of fashion (you were right, dad, too bad I just suck at bookkeeping lol)

We still pay for bookkeepers and accountants till today.

Why virtual bookkeeper?

First, as I mentioned above – it’s a freaking necessity.

All businesses need to make sure their accounts and books are in order, if not they may be in for a nasty surprise if they’re not clear what’s happening with their numbers eg if they need to do more sales, cut back more unnecessary spending etc.

Secondly, it is behind the scenes and very important role.

Not everyone wants to be CEOs, directors or sales – there are much important responsibilities and things to do such as accounts and bookkeeping and finance that is very important too. Like how I do well in face-to-face, marketing, sales and management, there are others who just shine when it comes to numbers (not me lol.

Third: Remote!

This work can be done from anywhere – your hometown, during your travels, visiting friends and loved ones, or even as you care for sick loved ones.

How to start

No license required

I was surprised when I found out about this, and of course, most employers prefer someone who has formal education eg having a diploma or degree in accounting.

But there are many entrepreneurs like myself who would pay a bookkeeper if the bookkeeper is professional, accurate, efficient and well priced. Having good attitude goes a long way too.

If you want to be a virtual book keeper, you can

Formal studies

This is like going for college and universities for that diploma, degree or masters in accounting.

This is the most formal and long-route to becoming a bookkeeper, and it can take you years to graduate and come out to work as a bookkeeper. Usually a professional bookkeeper.

However, there is another path, which is simpler and quicker:

Self learning

Like attending courses and getting certificates in accounting.

You can do these online or in institutions in your town typically.

Your first virtual bookkeeping client

First, get your basic marketing stuff ready

You dont need more than 7 days (I did say basic eh), just

  • name cards with your name, contact and services
  • website with more details
  • bank account

Then, reach out to your direct network

This is calling and speaking personally to people you directly know, such as

  • First tier: close family
  • Second tier: extended family
  • Third tier: friends
  • Fourth tier: colleagues
  • Fifth tier: social media

Practice sharing what you do eg:

Hey NAME, I’m starting a virtual book keeping service business. I help businesses with book keeping, accounting, monthly and quarterly reporting and even payroll. If you know someone who may benefit from my services, please refer them to me. Thank you so much.

Notice I didn’t market, promote or sell directly – it’s an indirect sale, and I find it works better by not turning people off and when others refer others, word of mouth is even more powerful.

Paid networking?

Consider joining paid networking events and memberships as well for you to get steady referrals and leads.

An example of paid networking is BNI (business networking initiative) which costed me something like $500 per year (weekly gatherings also incur food and beverage costs) and the interesting thing is that the members of the group will refer specifically to someone within that group.

eg if they meet someone who needs your virtual bookkeeping service, they will connect you up

Of course there are more admin stuff involved including one-to-one meeting with each other, larger meet ups, admin duties etc (think of it like a business club).

Fees – what to charge?

The easiest is to call 3-5 of your competitors to ask them for their fee structure and services and then you can collate the information and decide.

Generally it falls into 2 categories

Per hour billing

Per hour billing, as its name, is basically billing by the hour.

Sometimes, some businesses wants a once-off so they go by hourly, but most of the time, businesses like mine prefer something more consistent, bringing us to:

Retainer

Retainer model is the same as membership and subscription.

You can tier up your retainer model by number of transactions or by hours (whichever easier for you) and bill your clients based on their needs on a monthly basis.

Lastly, protection

To be safe, I will always recommend bookkeepers to purchase general insurance:

  • general liability insurance
  • professional indemnity insurance

in the event something goes out of whack (mistakes do happen – we’re all human and sometimes we cock up).

Earn $1200 monthly teaching swimming (just 4 x 45 minute sessions a week)…or more if you want

So I’ve been sitting in with my kids during their weekly swimming lessons (already 3rd lesson last week), and an idea popped into my head:

“How much does a swim coach earn?”

The gears started to turn in my head, and I created a calculation table (in the video), and I realized that getting paid to teach others to swim is a fairly good and nice lifestyle business.

Upsides

Basic calculations based on my own experience: we pay $75 per 45 minutes for 2 kids. Just 2 sessions a day (1.5 hours) x 20 days a month will yield a swimming instructor $3000 a month.

It’s not bad.

Scratch that – it’s pretty good!

Dont forget the other upsides:

  1. There are so many things in teaching swimming, but the basics is making sure newbies wont drown. And many parents are willing to pay for this
  2. Secondly, there are so many things one can thing, ie there is longevity in teaching swimming. From teaching swimming strokes and techniques, to improving stamina, or speed.
  3. It’s very visual AND social. Other parents will see you teaching kids, and they will enquire – if they like you and the way you teach, more often than not, they’d engage you. Also, parents will refer other parents (we refer all the time too)

Quite a lot of upside to make it easy to grow the business.

Are there risks and expenses?

Of course there are, and they include:

  1. transportation costs
  2. insurance costs
  3. certification costs
  4. cancellation due to weather (can consider indoor pools) or others
  5. advertising and marketing costs
  6. injury risks
  7. there are a lot of competition (but this is okay, as people usually follow and recommend teachers they like anyway)

Is it worth it?

That can be a subjective question, but for me, it’s likely a nice lifestyle business which you can choose to grow if you want to, or keep a limited teaching schedule.

It’s similar to how we physical therapists and hand therapists do house call.

And if you’re very driven, you can grow it by:

  1. growing your personal clientele
  2. hiring other swim coaches
  3. selling products such as floaties, swimwear etc (or price it into your fees as part of advertising)
  4. etc

Can Bitcoin price go up to $950K with adoption and government regulation?

Disclaimer: crypto is volatile and there are lots of scams out there – you can make a lot or you can lose a lot (or everything). Do your own research – this is not financial advice. I’m just showing what I’m doing, and I’m taking risks on my end too. I’ve been both right and wrong before, so do your research.

How I started in crypto

I entered crypto speculation in late 2017 when my best friend introduced me to it, and of course I was freaking skeptical when I first saw it. I was very cautious of it being a scam as I hadnt really heard of bitcoin or crypto before that (I’m in the offline physical therapy world).

I pored over whitepapers, got involved with different crypto and blockchain projects.

Of course, I definitely got rugpulled a number of times across different projects (the highest risks are with new projects with lots of hype and fluff and promises of high returns).

At the end of 2018, there was a massive crash (or correction?) as bitcoin went I sat on a paper loss of 80%++ – I was so sad and guilty when I told my wife, but I stayed for both the tech and adoption, which I believe will increase the price.

True enough, in 2021, my speculations in crypto sits currently at 300%+ of my original investment amount, and I’m sensing that it should have another good run as governments and regulations on board and after it gets regulated, the returns should be “normal like financial markets”.

Note #:1 regulations usually means that financial institutions, sovereign/wealth funds, pension plans etc will have more exposure to crypto as a whole.

I chanced upon some videos/articles and wanted to share this with you:

  1. Kevin O’Leary: Crypto Will Be the 12th Sector of the S&P https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSPSRVDN8l4
  2. Kevin O’Leary: 20% of my portfolio is in cryptocurrencies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqkC_XcxxJg
  3. Kevin O’Leary: Buy The Dip And Chill For 1 Year – They Want To Fool You, Don’t Listen To Them https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKqEOFwTO2A
  4. Kevin O’Leary: This Is Your Last Chance To Become Millionaire – My Most Sincere Advice To You https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_cyE10Ljms&t=5s
  5. BlackRock, Fidelity and others to invest $400M in USDC stablecoin issuer Circle https://techcrunch.com/2022/04/12/blackrock-fidelity-and-others-to-invest-400m-in-usdc-stablecoin-issuer-circle/
  6. Coin Gecko https://www.coingecko.com/
  7. 2021 financial market value https://www.statista.com/statistics/421060/global-financial-institutions-assets/

I believe that crypto including bitcoin, ethereum, solana, ripple and other crypto/blockchain projects would be regulated soon enough, and that itself will lead to a global increase of crypto market cap value as a whole.

No dang crystal ball

Of course, I dont have a crystal ball though that’d be nice lol, but I am ready to hodl my crypto speculations for a good 5-10+ years and longer. Why this is the case is as crypto becomes mainstream, it’d become “normal” to have, own and use crypto as methods of making and receiving payment =)

Note #2 I made a mistake – I thought the global financial market is worth 105M (see link #7), but it’s actually closer to $460 trillion in 2021. And I hadnt factored in other types of investments such as real estate.

For reference, crypto market cap April 2022 is $1.9T. That’s a conservative 230X comparatively.

What you can consider

For those who want to dip their toes / speculate into crypto but unsure, you can consider

  1. speculating into the top 10 / 50 / 100 of listed coins on coingecko
  2. ask your employer/side hustle jobs to pay you in crypto/btc
  3. invest into companies that have crypto exposure such as Tesla, MicroStrategy, NVidia etc

Remember, direct crypto speculation can be very volatile though is an emerging asset class – do your research and assume you can lose your invested amounts.

I’ll be holding onto my crypto and 5-10 years plus and equally as important, is to cash out (take out principal invested and profits) regularly – makes me sleep like a baby because my loss-related stress levels go down significantly =)

As Kevin o’Leary said in one of his videos: buy the dip and chill.

One Of My Potential $1K to $370K Shiba Inu Gamble (Robinhood lists Shiba Inu in 2022)

This is not financial advice – I am showing you what I’m doing and you need to do your own research. Do not borrow to speculate, invest or gamble. Crypto is highly volatile and you may lose whatever you put in.

Resources:

So when one of my best buddies sent me an article where Shiba Inu, a popular meme crypto token (#15 in the world at this point of time) is officially listed on Robinhood, a very easy-to-use and popular investment / trading app with more than 22.5 million users, I got really excited for SHIB.

I mean, it was interesting enough then as a community token and the projects they’re doing – but going on Robinhood…is akin to going mainstream.

And that’s a big thing in my opinion.

This Robinhood listing caused a 25% price surge of Shiba Inu globally (which is nice bonus #1 ehehe) and I took a look, Robinhood app is pretty easy to use too, which is again another nice #2 bonus.

How many SHIB tokens can I get with USD 1000?

Current price of SHIB: $0.00002713

With $1000, that’s mean I’d get around 36,859,565.05 SHIB tokens (rounding up to 37 million for simplicity).

$1k to $370K? Really?

It seems that the community of Shiba Inu is trying (or hoping) for Shiba to grow in price with an aim for $0.10 possibly within next 8-10 years

Remember, cryptocurrency is very volatile and risky. My $1000 in Shiba Inu may be worthless by then.

With 36,859,565.05 SHIB, at $0.01, that’d mean $368, 595.65 – a nice multiple if you ask me.

Even if it hits half the target at $0.005, that’s transforming my original $1000 to $184,297.00, which aint that shabby too.

Of course, it’s a long shot, high risk, and possibly doesn’t work out at all, so the $1000 can become totally worthless, and if it does, it doesnt affect me much at all. But if it hits 1c, it’d change my life in a nice and good way =)

Whales Investing Too

🐳🐳 ETH whale “Light” just bought 287,355,928,094 $shib ($6,577,577 USD).

An Ethereum whale by the name of “Light” just invested USD 6.4M (that’s million) to purchase 287B of Shiba Inu tokens. These are not small game playing, and it’s definitely heavy weight players (link to article can be found here).

That’s just ONE Ethereum whale.

What if I told you that there is many, many more Ethereum whales buying and hodling Shiba Inu?

And what if Shiba Inu is their hottest holding?

As more whales started buying SHIB tokens at a large discount, the total USD value of SHIB holdings jumped to $1.19 billion, which put it in first place among all other assets.

Biggest Ethereum “Light” Just Grabbed 287 Billion SHIB as Shiba Inu Dominates Biggest ETH Whales’ Portfolios

Interesting stuff if you ask me.

So that’s one of my gambles on multiplying my money using Shiba Inu crypto token for the mid-term play.