ARK’s Cathie Wood bullish on crypto: buys Coinbase and GBTC and what this means for you

Cathie Wood is seriously bullish on COIN and BTC

As of today 27th December 2022, ARK Innovation holds / invested

  • 5.8 million COIN shares (worth $205 million)
  • 6.4 million GBTC shares (worth $53 million)

These amounts aint small, but they aint chump change either.

That’s serious money and some serious investing chutzpah.

Cathie Wood alleges that BTC will reach $1M in value per Bitcoin by year 2030.

What does this mean to me and you?

The thing to understand is what is Cathie Wood and ARK Innovation’s investment theory / philosophy — it’s unlikely they invested in COIN and GBTC at whim.

They assessed and judged that the potential reward for investing (or speculating) into GBTC and COIN shares will payoff once they reach the the bull market again, and poured money into those.

Myself, my investment thesis and philosophy is

  1. Active cash paying business or job to pay the bills and with the extra:
  2. 75% into boring, cash paying dividend stocks and/or index funds
  3. 25% into higher-risk-higher-return projects such as selected blockchain / crypto projects

#3 is where I’m banking on “life changing wealth”

Some people call it “wife-changing wealth” lol, but I’m pretty happy with my current wife and family, and prefer not to change them at all. I’d rather die with and for them.

My thesis in speculating/investing in cryptocurrency is that

  1. selected crypto/blockchain projects will revolutionize specific niches in the world
  2. bitcoin is likely here to stay as money continue to be printed enmasse, more and more people AND institutions of wealth and finance will also help process the cryptocurrency holdings of THEIR clients, who want a slice of crypto, be it Bitcoin, Ethereum and top 10, 20, or top 100 crypto projects
  3. at later stages “every rich dude or dudette” will want to own at least one bitcoin
  4. I’m okay to lose that 25%. It IS high-risk-high-return, which is why for my wealth manifesto to work, I will keep working and keep investing 75% into boring stuff

Get rich fellas.

You’ll need a plan (and stick to it!) to have money and retire early

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

A man…a plan…profit!!

Well, that’s oversimplying things very broadly…but there’s some elements of truths in there if you want to

  • get rich
  • retire early
  • and do shit you love

There’s one big missing segment there though, which is “do-do-do-refine-reinvest”, so it looks more like this

  1. Plan
  2. Do-do-do
  3. Refine
  4. Reinvest

But today, I’m only gonna talk about the Plan part.

Importance of planning

To be effective and maximize potential, you will need to have a plan and work towards the goal and mission. For example, my personal and nigelchua.com’s goal, to build as much passive income streams as possible. The question is to know or find out what is relevant OR NOT.

Planning is about what steps you need to take to reach the goals you want, what possible challenges and problems to anticipate and overcome, how to use your resources (skills, finance, time and opportunities) to reach the goal you want. Planning involves analysis of resources and trends, predicting emerging markets and future demands.

Basically, a goal is where YOU want to be at a certain time and the plan provides the roadmap and directions how you’re getting there.

That’s the reason why there’s the famous slogan “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” – planning is a basic, basic, basic part of achieving any outcome you desire. It’s the blueprint that will organize, direct and guide your decision making.

For example if I set a goal to build passive income of $10,000.00 a month by 50 years old, and that’d be my guide to think and pick passive income investments and businesses from now (40 years old) till I’m 50.

Planning as a qualifying (and commitment) filter

Planning works as a filter for people to determine

  • level of commitment they can commit to the plan and outcome
  • flexibility and hunger to grow, learn and refine
  • patience to see the plan through
  • your decision making ability will show as well…

Basically, once you start planning and putting your ideas to paper, it’d show if your ideas are good or not, if it’s realistic or not…or if you’re committed, or not.

Kinda like getting and staying happily in love and married.

A lot of people jump from marriage to marriage or relationship to relationship at the first sign of trouble, because they want things easy; and they’re not ready or mature enough to work through hurdles along the way. There is no such thing as walk-in-the-park with no problems. I say this specificly to the people I’d met who wanted to work with me, but quickly threw me under the bus when we hit some road bumps. Aka “it’s always someone elses fault or problem”.

It was painful then, but those were great lessons for me in filtering and choosing people who are worthy, but also, qualified my goals and dreams.

My $10,000/month passive income goal

The number that I pulled up for $10,000/month passive income as my goal, isn’t an arbritary number. I went to the drawing board to determine and decide what’s my expenses, and additional buffers.

At this point in time, my family monthly expenses are crossing $14K/month, but that’s including mortgage and insurance, which will taper off after about 10 years. Personally we do not spend more than $6-7K/month right now, but that amount may change as the kids grow older so we buffered out mortgage/insurance and buffered in additional spending as we and kids grow older.

I calculated my financial independence based on 45 if all the ducks line up well for my high-risk-high-return investments; but failing which (or delayed), then the steady business and dividend stocks will (must!) achieve my passive income goal for me by 50.

And the way I’m doing it is:

  1. earn more**
  2. save more
  3. invest 75% of savings into dividend stocks; 25% into high-risk-high-return stuff

That’s it.

I spend most time at the ** earning more phase, because there is no limit as to how much any business or entrepreneurship ventures can earn, And keep looking for better and better solutions that can serve my passive income goals.

How bout you? What’s your plan?

How much is enough to retire (your leanFIRE or coastFIRE number)

CoastFIRE and leanFIRE are very different in nature, and I’ll cover them separately, and then you decide which camp you fall under.

LeanFIRE

This financial independence retire early approach takes a “leaner” way of lifestyle to save enough money and retire as soon as possible. Mostly, you will choose to live very, very minimally and save/invest the rest, and your retirement will be more frugal overall. This gets you to retire earlier than most (late 20s or 30s) BUT you trade-off with a smaller investment portfolio due to less time involved.

LeanFIRE approach may mean that the passive income from your portfolio may not allow you lavish lifestyle (so no expensive cars / holidays / spendings) ie retire earlier frugal lifestyle.

The average number to calculate leanFIRE is to take your annual expenses and multiply that by 25.

So if your monthly spend is $3000, then annually you spend $3000 x 12 = $36,000. 25x of this will be $900,000. Assuming you

  • save and invest $1,000 a month into 6% returns per year stable assets
  • reinvest that 6% every year

You can reach your target $900,000 in 28.5 years.

This is a common strategy for people who are wired to retire earlier and/or have overall lower spending expenses than  other households for example people who have no kids / single, senior citizens, living in tiny homes / vans etc.

LeanFIRE is generally about being willing to live simpler in retirement, and people who follow this approach usually try to live on less than $50,000 per year or lesser. They would be okay / willing to

  • move to a lower cost of living area
  • spend less on travel or experiences
  • cut back or simplify food and transport expenses

CoastFIRE

Financial independence, retiring early can be very tough for young people to save a large chunk of money upfront, especially when cost of living is higher now no matter where you go. LeanFIRE can take many, many years to achieve (even the example above is a good 28.5 years). CoastFIRE on the other hand, is another alternative.

The difference between coastFIRE and normal FIRE is that with normal, traditional fire, you have more than enough passive income from your passive income investments to cover your daily expenses. You’re “there”. CoastFIRE is more about the beginning or earlier journey of FIRE, and you focus on

Frontloading your coastFIRE number which will let you achieve FIRE in X years.

I gave an earlier coastFIRE example with Jake here.

The two top principles of coastFIRE are:

  1. you will still need to work to cover the basic living expenses BUT
  2. you no longer have to worry about saving money and investing for retirement

Because you frontload the coastFIRE investment amount as early as possible AND let compounded investment return work hard for you over a period of time (usually the time you choose to retire).

Example, say 25-year old Jane has saved $100,000 and wants to retire at 55. Assuming Jane doesn’t spend much, around $2,800 a month (total $33,600 per year) and Jane’s money grows at 6% per year, she will have $574,349.12 by 55. 6% of $574,349 is $34,460.94. Jane would have achieved her coastFIRE number at age 25.

If I’m 35 want coastFIRE and retire with $1 million at 65, and say I’ve $200,000 to invest. Assuming annual returns of 6%, with the 6% reinvested over 40 years, I would have achieved it

within 28 years, by then I’ll be 63 years old. 2 years early.

Thing about this coastFIRE approach is that I will still have to work to cover living expenses as my investment work its compounding over time, but I will be on point for retirement without needing to add any extra savings – this is what it means to

coast into retirement

Of course, knowing myself, I will want more buffer, so I will top up / add in additional monies over the years to grow the principle more, and this will lead to

  • shaving off the years to hit $1M but more importantly
  • I’d have a larger (and more defensive) amount above $1M for buffers

What I like about coastFIRE is that it takes a lot of mental stress away from the get-go, and I can choose to work simpler or less hours at my work, knowing and having confidence that I can retire at X amount and years which is working for me. This is the biggest benefit in my opinion. To add on to that, secondary benefits are less sacrifices upfront:

  • no longer have to be stressed by counting dollars for vacations or big spends or small spends
  • dont have to choosing higher yielding projects with a lot more stress or tolerate rubbish people at work
  • even if I lose my job, I can choose a simple low paying job to pay the daily expenses and I’ll “still be okay”

This allows me to enjoy the journey of life more.

Why financial independence or retire early at all?

Someone asked in a group chat just the other day when I was sharing about passive income, retiring early and financial independence, and my immediate response in my head was: why not?

Why not have passive income? Why not be able to retire early?

I dont get tired of speaking about this at all, and I’ve been sharing and saying this for years now, since 2009. Passive income is still relevant today, perhaps even moreso than ever before.

Especially

  • during 2020 – 2022 during the COVID lockdowns and fears and lots of job losses and changes
  • 2022’s Russian’s parasitic, invasive war of Ukraine
  • ?future

Passive income isn’t complex. It’s a necessity of life.

With so many different case uses and benefits, because everyone’s preferences and needs are different right? Me, I will work less and spend more time with family and pursuing / doing projects that matter to me including more time in nigelchua.com and video making. Maybe hire personal trainers and nutritionists to improve my and family health.

For others it may be

  • retiring their partners or parents
  • spending time with sick or elderly parents
  • having (more) kids
  • being able to NOT put down their sick pets
  • travel the world
  • maybe move to another part of the world (vanlife, anyone?)
  • volunteer
  • finally have the mental bandwidth to meet people, date and maybe even marry
  • focus on your first love, be it acting, drawing, writing, baking – whatever

There’s so many more examples of what one can do with passive income and retiring earlier.

Surely there’s downsides to passive income?

Of course there’s some downsides, such as

  • maybe you’d start to have people sticking to you cos you have money (and they want money from you)
  • maybe you’d get bored
  • maybe…traveling and the beach was boring after all

Who knows? You then have the luxury of time to explore and find out what you dislike, what you like and want more of, which is still a net positive in my books.

And that what keeps me going and sharing this message again and again to those who will hear.

Rich dad’s #1 lesson that made me $1,000,000+ (will make you rich)

I stumbled upon Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad book in my 2nd year of my occupational therapy diploma studies, when I was in Ratna’s place doing group work or some assignment. Somehow, I just saw it and it stood out to me. Without thinking, I immediately blurted out to her if I could borrow it from her, and she graciously said okay.

That was the beginning of a money change in my life.

You see, I grew up in a poor to middle class family, and I dont tire of telling this story. I have very loving parents and siblings, and we love each other. But I remember growing up seeing my parents fight over money, there was so much money stresses and strain. My dad would loan money to pay for stuff, but we manage by. There was not much money talks, so watching them was sort of front-row seats of my learning.

In school, I realized I too started borrowing money from my friends whenever the month-end was too far away, and that happened almost every month (thanks Pei Fen and Julia) for helping me all those years. I was embarrassed to have done that, but I realized it’s something

Monkey see monkey do

Rich dad’s #1 lesson that changed my life

It’s just “an” idea, that assets put money into my pocket or bank account. So, the natural conclusion is that I need more and more assets to put in more and more money into my pockets. The simplicity worked for my simple brain, especially when financial intelligence was a new concept to me.

Robert then expanded that point, on how he went into entrepreneurship because he’s not super smart to become a doctor (I could relate to that), and not talented enough to become a highly paid actor or entertainer (well…dang, me too). So it’s entrepreneurship for me too, which led me to start my entrepreneurship journey.

First, as a freelancer, then as an agency owner, then a clinic, then a clinic chain.

This allowed me to

Earn more

Earning more has always been helpful.

It’s a stark difference of earning $2000/month (and taking home $1700+) as opposed to my first month as freelancer where I took home $4800. I will NEVER forget that feeling of amazement, disbelief, and this sense of hope. I knew that if I could do it once, I can do it again and again.

Then I leveled up, instead of just earning $5K/month freelancing as a freelance therapist, what happened if we opened our own clinic? We didnt have the skills or knowhow, but we were willing to learn, and then we started earning $10-20K+/month, with a clinic. Then multiplied again when we had people joining us. Then multiplied again when we have 2, 3…and more clinics.

Investing

Robert was (still is) very big into

  • real estate
  • teaching and intellectual property books / boardgames
  • precious metals such as silver and gold
  • and more recently, cryptocurrency

He taught me broadly about the idea of investing, and after we started earning more, we started to look at what and how we can do more when it comes to investing and working our hard earned monies even harder. This is a skill that I’m improving and honing everyday, on top of running and growing my businesses.

I’ve since gone for other courses and books and courses, but I wont forget this very first book. I still pick it up once in a while, and it’s a great gift to give.

Saving alone wont make you rich (what you need to do instead to get wealthy)

Being able to save money and manage your spending impulses is a powerful ability, and yet it’s “only” one-third of the wealth equation.

What’s the other two thirds?

Well, barring

  • being born in a rich family
  • marrying into money
  • hitting the jackpot

My other two thirds are tried-and-tested truths:

Ability to earn more

I’ve said this before:

there’s only so much you can save

Yes, saving is a powerful ability, but there is one big, big problem with it: there’s a ceiling cap on how much you can save, because saving is based on your actual earning and spending.

I’ll give you an example: if you earn $3K and spend $3K, all you can cut back on in savings are max $3K (before deducting expenses for essentials such as roof, food, transport etc). In the end, it’d still be within the $3K.

BUT, and it’s a biiiIGGGGG but, when it comes to earning more, there is no ceiling. If you start a side hustle, you may earn $100 in the first week, $350 in the second and up to $1000 by the end of the month. You can scale to $3K/month and even higher, grow the business (or not, depending on your preferences) and going up to $10K/month and more too.

You get to network with different individuals, perhaps even find deep meaningful work too.

That’s what I like about entrepreneurship and side hustles – there’s no limit, once you get past the first hurdle of starting and staying the course. I spend most of my time here.

Ability to research, invest/reinvest and be patient

The last and equally powerful ability revolves around investing, basically referring to the ability to getting all your hard earned (and saved) money to work harder for you.

It’s about making your $1000 earn another $1000+++ and more for you, and not losing your principle investment as much as possible.

Why these 2 skills are equally (if not more important)

  • counter inflation: prices are going up and every $100 you save today will become less valuable next year (due to rising interest rates and inflation, causing prices to go up)
  • building passive income from your hard earn money will provide you cashflow which you can use for daily expenses and reinvest to make your investment returns work even harder for you

Earn $1000 extra per month (Part 2)

People are very willing to pay for time and convenience. Combine this with the sharing economy, and you’d find that you may have a much easier time earning an extra $1000+ per month.

App-based gigs

  • Transport: Uber, Grab, Lyft
  • Food: Doordash, UberEats, GrabFood
  • Parcel: uparcel, lalamove
  • Tasks: taskrabbit, quest

There’s so many app-based gigs that you can use, literally at touch / click of buttons, to get side gigs and get paid for doing them. You can literally do that now by going into Apple or Android app store and searching and registering.

Once you’re approve, go through and choose jobs that’s part of your routine or transportation (you can even deliver food by foot!) and get paid.

Traditional stuff

  • Grass cutting / lawn mowing
  • Pet sitting
  • House sitting
  • Tutoring (will need specific skills and certs)
  • etc

Renting out your spare rooms

If you bought a space and have 1 or more rooms that you actually dont use, a popular house-hack is to rent out the spare rooms. You can

  • get a realtor / agent to help you secure longer term tenants
  • use apps like airbnb for short term tenants

These revenue can be used to pay for the mortgage itself and you can save on interest or invest into other assets.

Start an online business

One of my all-time favorites is starting an online business (I recommend learning here), for so many reasons including

  1. very low costs
  2. no income ceiling
  3. very portable ie you can work on your online business in any countries
  4. transferrable skill
  5. sellable asset
  6. passive income (set up once, earn again and again because online business works 24/7)

Of course it’s not easy and takes time (like any other skill) and will require serious dedication.

Preventing regret later in life

After 3-4 years of not visiting family, me and my family finally got a chance to travel to them in Kuala Lumper (KL) and Seremban in September 2022. And it was truly nice to meet them again – met my grandma who’s already 86, and 2 families of uncles and aunties and some of their kids.

What stood out to me during this time is chancing across personal regrets from a couple of friends and families – interestingly, they were similar:

regret going back to their home country in Malaysia, whatever the reasons then

I got a little reflective on this and how preventing regret is a big part of my psyche and adventuring in passive income, personal finance and financial independence.

Here are some takeaways:

You gotta choose the value you believe in.

I feel that that this is something that’s often ignored or overlooked, and not discussed enough.

Maybe it’s because it’s “in the air”, kinda airy-fairy, and maybe your parents or culturally you may not cover these kind of topics. I understand, I grew up in a stoic kind-of-grit-and-pivot as it comes. Which is an okay approach to float, but the problem with this is that it’s a coasting/floating without directions.

You need to choose which values (and principles) that are important to you and let these values help you make life and money decisions. It’d bring clarity and even happiness.

When you understand the values you choose, you can align with decisions you make. Let me give you an example of how I set values in my head and heart, when it comes to finance and money:

#1: My time and freedom is greater than money, so I dont want to keep actively working or being locked into a situation long term for money. My money needs to be generated passively and work harder for me.

#2: I dont want bloody or shady money. My money that is made needs to be made with the regular work and through investments that are clean. I do not want to make dirty money. This leaves plenty of money on the table but I sleep well and I am comfortable to meet my Maker.

These 2 money values drives the way I do business and spend my money, so it’s commonplace to see me prioritize decisions:

  • that make money for me passively, such as being pre-occupied with dividend stock investing and eventual property investing
  • decrease taking on expense-generating activities unless its a true need, such as expensive cars and watches and phones, which bring me zero joy
  • teaching my kids about business and money and ethics

See, there’s a lot of societal pressures (be it family, friends, advertisements) which can be huge – when you don’t know or hadnt chosen your values, you can be easily affected and swayed. That’s why you need to know what’s important to you.

Of course it comes with sacrifices – I have to follow my values of not buying those swanky cars even if I can afford them. It just doesnt make sense to me. My friends who want to migrate will have to live with the pains and perhaps some loneliness; especially seeing their loved ones in medical conditions or even passing on, without being there by their side.

You’ve gotta know and decide what’s important to you, be it for money, life, love, career – define them clearly and these value will help you avoid big regrets down the road later.

Plan in advance and execute consistently based on the values you believe in.

This is a continuationof the values point I shared above.

It’s one thing to know and choose the values you prefer; it’s an entirely different thing to plan in advance and execute consistently based on the values you say you believe in.

Talking and thinking isn’t enough, you gotta do what you say and keep doing UNTIL it’s done.

Again, I will use my example of my financial and money values:

#1: My time and freedom is greater than money, so I dont want to keep actively working or being locked into a situation long term for money. My money needs to be generated passively and work harder for me.

#2: I dont want bloody or shady money. My money that is made needs to be made with the regular work and through investments that are clean. I do not want to make dirty money. This leaves plenty of money on the table but I sleep well and I am comfortable to meet my Maker.

For me to live the passive income lifestyle where my investments will pay for my lifestyles and expenses, I will definitely need much more than I can invest right now.

From a very conservative standpoint, say I want to have $10,000 to spend every single money so that I dont have to worry about money, assuming a 5% return on investment, that would mean I will need $2,400,000 (This number is derived by annual amount ($10,000 x 12 = $120,000) divided by 5%).

Two problems:

  1. I dont have that large sum of money lying around: I need to think of how to break that down into bite-size-chunks where I need to earn and invest X amount over a Y period of time
  2. I need to consider the possibility of adding a buffer, say 20-50%, in case things change down the road (who knows right?)

How to amass $2,400,000 in the least time possible

Perhaps, I can consider moving to a cheaper cost of living space. Maybe a cheaper country, or a cut down from $10,000 to $5,000 (this will decrease the amount to a much more easily $1,200,000).

If that can’t be done or I’m not willing to, then the next thing if I want speed, then I need to answer this question:

How much can I earn and invest per month/year?

The more I can invest, naturally the timeline decreases. Here, let me show you.

The more money you can invest, the faster you can accumulate (kinda straightforward).

How can you improve on this?

  1. Earn + save + invest more. This is the easiest in my opinion and is the #1 focus of mine, because I enjoy business so much. Why? Because business can grow. This year I may have $50K profits, but next year with improvements, we may earn $75K, and the extra $25K can be invested. The year after that maybe more and so on so forth. Business also can be sold for a sweet multiple that can accelerate my personal finance amount target too (I sold my first business for a sweet 7 figure deal after hustling like madlad for 10+ years).
  2. More time (I dont like this because time is the only resource we cannot replace or earn back; but this will work great for someone really young eg your kids/family/newgrads) but not suitable for me who’s 40 at this time of writing.
  3. Improve on your ability to research and invest. The calculations above are based on 5% returns. What if you can find something that can give you 10% per year? That changes everything. Let me show you:

Look at the difference – it’s massive. 2% vs 3% vs 5% vs 7.5% vs 10% etc can have startling differences. But investing can be hard and choosing the right steps can be hard, and I dont want to monitor the market too much or have too much volatility.

I take the approach of

  1. earn more building and growing business which pays for my living expenses
  2. dont spend unnecessarily
  3. invest as much as possible into relatively stable dividend stocks, investment properties and even vanguard (not dividends, but been 8-9% last 10 years)

That’s it.

Regardless, can you be patient for 20 years? It may be earlier if my business profits grows exponentially and I can invest more and more.

I can and I will, to prevent as much regrets as possible.

Resisting influece, the joneses and lifestyle creep

You may have come a long way from being that broke student living off instant noodles. I know and remember those days.

Maybe nowadays you earn a lot more, and can now afford to enjoy a much more expensive lifestyle because

  • you worked hard for it
  • you deserve it
  • you wanna catch up on lost time

These are what I call “lifestyle creep”, and they’re like addictive feel-good-drugs that does make you feel powerful and good…but only for a while. The more you earn, the more you spend.

  • Maybe your neighbour bought a swanky 4 wheel drive and you like it and thinking of buying a 2nd or 3rd car
  • Or your parents are bugging you to refinance their home for them or telling you to buy a bigger house
  • Maybe your close friends are planning to go on an expensive trip
  • Or your spouse wants an expensive gift
  • etc

And then after, nothing changes. Sure, you have more expenses and things to pay for. If anything, your bank account is smaller, and you’re further from your passive income lifestyle.

The longer you can live on a small budget with minimal expenses, the more you can save and invest — and the easier it will be to have more choice, freedom, and flexibility in the future.

Yes, it’s sometimes tough to cut back when you’re used to spending more or to a certain lifestyle. By practicing more frugal habits now, you can invest more and have more than enough to “play” with the extras later.

Save and invest as early as possible

When you’re young (20s or 30s), you have a big advantage that older people dont have: time.

Time is a very powerful tool that helps to compound your money, and the longer time you have, the more it can compound your investment returns and be increasingly profitable. I’ve shared this earlier so I wont go too much into this.

  1. Person A who invests $1K/month upon graduation at 22 years old, and continues all the way till they retire at 62 (total 40 years) with 5% returns will have $1,449,597.29
  2. Person B who invests $1K/month for 10 years with 5% returns will have $150,934.71

See the big difference when time is involved? Time plays a very big role especially when it comes to personal finance and financial independence.

Regret prevention

After hearing the personal stories of the regrets, I am doubling down on my efforts to

  • build even more passive income streams and portfolio
  • carving out more time to spend with people I care about including praying/time with God

I dont want to regret when I’m old, because when I’m old, I cant catch up; so this means I need to anticipate as much as I can to go in the direction of where and who I want to be in 10++ years time.

You can figure out your passive income and financial independence game (and achieve it too)

One very important concept I want to share with you today is that you can figure out your passive income and financial independence game, as well as achieve it. It takes patience and some thinking and planning, which will take at most 1-2 hours if done quickly.

Of course, if you’re doing it for the first time, it can be overwhelming because you may just not know when and where to start…but that’s what happens with all new projects isnt it?

Like if you decide to go on a holiday, you’ve gotta plan, research what to do, weather, and buy the tickets and accomodations and go.

Eat that elephant one bite a time

I like to use this example because personal finance, financial independence and passive income matters can seem so big and daunting, like an elephant. So take it bite-by-bite, aka one step a time.

  1. First, how much do you need to retire? What are you spending money on? Is it $1000/month? $2000/month? Take a look at your last 3-6 months of expenses and calculate from there.
  2. Is there anything you can cut out from your spending? Perhaps you’d been spending on stuff that you dont really care about? Cut out the largest 1-3 expenses that you dont care about. More or less? This is very dependent on where you live (cost of living place) and your spending habits.
  3. Then average out your monthly expenses last 3-6 months. From here, you can extrapolate how much you’d need average on a year. Say you need around $2000/month, which is $24000/year.
  4. Then, figure out how much you need invested to get $24000/year. Of course that’d mean you can get a simple $2000/month job too, but that’s active working.
  5. If you want to retire, then like me, you will need to build or purchase assets that will pay you regularly, such as dividend stocks or rental properties or even online business. Choose ONE that works best for you. The easiest for me is dividend stocks. So assuming I need $2000/month to retire, that’d mean I’d need $24000/year to retire. Assuming I like dividend stocks and that my dividend stock portfolio pay me 5% per year in dividends, that’d mean I’d need $24000/5% = $480000 in dividend stocks that pays me 5% in dividends
  6. Working on your passive income portfolio. Choose one that you’re comfortable with. Is it dividend stocks? Is it crypto? Is it financial instruments like insurance? Or rental properties? Whatever it is, choose just one to learn, practice and master.
  7. Then I’ll have to figure out how am I to amass $480K? The most logical would then be to slowly work, save and invest as much as possible. If I can save $18K/year and I can reinvest every single dividend, that’d take me 17.5 years. If I throw in bonuses and side hustle to a total of say $30K/year, and reinvest every single dividend, it’d take me just slightly more than 12 years to achieve my $480K target.
  8. I’d layer some buffer, just in case. To me, this can mean increasing my portfolio by at least 25-100++%, depending on how much risk tolerance I have or how bored I am
  9. Rinse and repeat.

Then what?

I dont know bout you man, but there’s so much you can do or not do.

Maybe retire your spouse if you’re married.

Or travel.

Maybe move to another country.

Or do philantropy works and volunteer. Teach and mentor.

Maybe pursue something you’re interested in, be it obscure or “useless” skills or fun stuff.

Learn a different language, even cryptocurrency.

Start a new project.

Become a preacher to serve God’s calling in your life.

Do deep work that you care deeply about, be it changing the world or climate change etc.

Whatever.

What financial freedom is

Financial freedom is hard to understand by itself, because not many people think about it, much less take consistent action or had achieved financial freedom.

Let’s talk about what financial freedom is not – most people are actually in financial bondage or financially stuck. They HAVE to work to pay bills, or keep the hedonistic treadmill going. They have debts which are either not going away or keeps growing in size. They don’t have the freedom to stop work at all.

Conversely, financial freedom…is about having the option to choose to work or not. Pursue something interesting or not. Create or not. Sleep in or not.

The hard thing about financial freedom

There’s a few hard things about this concept of financial freedom, which is

  1. It’s too far away. Many people take the “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there” because they can’t grasp the concept of “saving and investing for 10-20 years to retire by 40”. It’s hard to envision, so many people just work and keep money in the bank. They fear they save for 10 years and then they die so it’s all for nothing.
  2. It’s scary. It can be hard when the price of dividend stocks go down during corrections and crashes (funny, I take it as good stuff on sale) so they prefer to avoid this pain of losing value though it’s short term. This point is linked to point #1, where people tend to be short term.
  3. Not many people do it. So it makes it unusual, which makes it hard for people who prefer to follow the herd. This means that most people cant achieve financial freedom.
  4. It’s not taught in schools or most families. That’s why most people are broke and struggling. People (are) try to be nice, but the world and market doesn’t work on that – there are very specific principles to become and grow richer, which is to accumulate more assets. In fact, people are taught to be poor eg concepts such as “living below your means”, “save”, “dont take risks” and the most common “the rich are wicked” causes many to have conflicted thoughts about money.

Honestly there’s a lot more of this which I will cover in another post, that’s all for today. Food for thought.

Make money online Singapore for free

nigelchua family

To begin building and living the passive income lifestyle, unless you already have a lot of cash reserves to invest in dividend stocks,

I recommend you to learn how to build Passive Income Internet Businesses (PIIB) on the side, and build up multiple streams of online passive income first without quitting your job.

Quit only when your PIIB income has reached/surpassed your day job, but even that is optional. And that brings me to:

A Review Of Wealthy Affiliate University

I chanced upon Wealthy Affiliate (create a free-for-life Wealthy Affiliate account here) quite some time back, around 2011, and even then I dismissed it because I was heavily reliant on another program then, called Site Build It (SBI) that worked very, very well, going on to becoming a 6-figure lead generation website for my private physiotherapy business in Singapore.

SBI is great for very static, authoritative websites for brick and mortar professional companies in my opinion, but Wealthy Affiliate carries its own weight in the online business and entrepreneurship world.

The program has evolved and grown a lot since then, and you can check it out completely free. The starter account is $0, with no catch, and no credit card required – so you can take your time to try  and then decide if it’s right for you without risking a single cent of your hard earned money.

I’m pretty sure that you would agree that losing money and being scammed or cheated is really a terrible experience – I’ve lost and wasted more than $25,000 during my journey to find out ways to make money online and earn money from home, legitimately, and doing things I love.

Unfortunately for me, I bought many hyped-up products that I came across, been cheated by “gurus” that promised to make me rich. And as an obvious result, I because very cautious, negative and even cynical of the whole idea of making money on the internet.

This is why when I found Wealthy Affiliate, it was actually at the back of my mind that “this is the last one to try” because frankly…I’m upset, disappointed and embarrassed to keep showing my wife and family how I keep getting cheated, scammed and lied to of my hard-earned monies.

What Is Wealthy Affiliate?

So whenever I share with someone about WA, I almost always start by saying that it’s not a money-making-scheme, it’s not an easy passive way to becoming rich and neither is it a pyramid scam.

Wealthy Affiliate University is first and foremost an online business community as well as a marketing centre. Please, if you think you will start minting/making/printing money by simply joining WA – think again, OR just walk away – it doesn’t work that way.

This is likely the biggest difference between Wealthy Affiliate and all the other make money online programs – WA doesn’t sell hype and false promises; WA doesn’t promise to make you rich with a few clicks or overnight, and they definitely don’t promise you a shortcut to overnight thousands of dollars.

And I’m glad for that.

They instead promise to teach, train, educate, support and show you how to build your online business. If you are willing to start, learn, refine, grow and run a successful business, please keep reading.
wealthy affiliate

Wealthy Affiliate Pros VS Cons

Pros:

  • Very Clear Action Plan
  • Different levels of training based on your experience – Beginner and Advanced
  • Video training provided, including Step-by-step Tutorials and Courses
  • 10,000’s of community members
  • 10+ Full, Interactive Classrooms with tasks to complete
  • Live & Interactive Help from WA members, ambassadors, owners and expert members
  • 2 Free Easy-to-Build Websites (you will also learn what to do with these sites)
  • State of the Art Hosting and more importantly to me, strong defenses against hackers/spammers
  • A strict spam free environment (it is not allowed to advertise/sell within WA; great as warning to spammers who want to join WA just to sell something to other members)
  • No up-sells, ever. (except Premium, of course)
  • $0 Membership. Yes, completely FREE! (Basic membership)

Cons:

  • Too much information in the beginning that can be overwhelming
  • I notice that it is very easy and addictive to spend time on Live Chat
  • Starter membership is great but you’ll have to upgrade to premium in order to access advanced training

A Better Question: Is Wealthy Affiliate For You?

Wealthy Affiliate is not for everyone – since 2005, they have been teaching individuals with success how to build an online business, how to grow and expand businesses and how to level up their businesses.

In a nutshell, it teaches you marketing. BUT if you aren’t open, keen or willing to learn and take action, then the whole idea of making money online isn’t suitable for you.

In that case, who then can really benefit from this program? Generally, they are individuals or groups/organizations who wants to make an extra income to supplement their salary or support their causes.

These people include:

  • Stay at home moms (SAHMs) who have some free time and are willing to spend it in front of the computer.
  • Students who want to make money to help them pay for their tuition, and some college students has built 6-figure businesses from their dorm, using Wealthy Affiliate.
  • Business owners who want to get more visibility and leads online.
  • Retirees who have free time and want to supplement their pension or who would like to continuously learn, reach out to help others and connect with like-minded people
  • People who are fed up of their 9-to-5 jobs and want to start their own business. Many Wealthy Affiliate members have been able to quit their “day job” to do online marketing full time.On the flip side, there are also many WA members who have “made it online” but still keep their day job at a much lower stress level, and to purely enjoy the work and connection with people at the workplace – more options and fun.

As you can tell, WA is good choice for everyone who is seeking to earn money from home, BUT you must understand that you will have to invest your time and effort to learn, execute, refine, test and keep taking action in order to make it work.

This program will teach you HOW TO BUILD a business – and like any business, online or offline, it requires a solid and consistent investment of time, effort and usually money.

The big difference between starting an online business instead of a traditional brick and mortar business is that you do not need much start-up capital to get started online.

This really hits home because for my physical business today, my monthly expenditures are about S$60,000+ per month (ok, my business is bit larger than a small start up), but the difference is staggering, and the online world gives you global reach and global customers, unlike mine which is very limited geographically.

You do not even need any money to join Wealthy Affiliate, the basic free membership gives you all you need to get started: including 2 free hosted websites, training and all the support you need. What Exactly Do You Get Inside? Wealthy Affiliate only costs $49/month. Update: Wealthy Affiliate is now FREE to join!

wealthy affiliate membership grid
Wealthy Affiliate has two (2) different membership levels: the basic and the premium.

This is really good because you can join first without spending a single penny, look around, meet and connect with some people, create your own 2 free websites (hosting included) and see how it goes.

Then and only then, if you love it like I do – you decide to join Premium for even more benefits or you can still stick to building an online business using your free starter membership, with no strings attached.

This alone makes WA so much better than any other make money online programs or opportunities – there is no risk of losing money to something that might not work.

You don’t even need your credit card and still get a free membership!

>> Sign up for the free basic Wealthy Affiliate membership account here <<

What you get with your 0$ starter membership:

  • Instant access to over 500 training modules
  • 2 free websites along with free hosting
  • Access to 3 classrooms
  • Live support from the owners for the first 7 days and support from many experts inside WA!
  • 30 keyword searches a month
  • Phase 1 of the Boot camp course, teaching you how to build an authority website.

On the upside, what you get with your Premium membership:

  • Live Video Classes
  • Instant access to over 500 training modules
  • Unlimited free websites along with free hosting (great cost savings)
  • Website Backup and Website Security Package (important to me)
  • Access to all 12 classrooms
  • Unlimited Live support from the owners and support from many experts inside WA!
  • Unlimited keyword searches
  • All phases of the Boot camp course
  • 100% higher commissions.
  • Private access to my support.
  • … and much much more!

>> Sign up for the free basic Wealthy Affiliate membership account here <<

To me, the most valuable and important benefits of Wealthy Affiliate University, is really the step-by-step approach to building an online business from the group up, the support from Kyle, Carson and many expert members.

Sadly, most of the other online programs lack the support and the clear action plan (even sadder is that many of them claim to have support but when I email them, I only hear crickets – meaning nothing back. Feels like I’m just a number to those scams).

I have tested dozens of different programs since 2003 and nothing comes close to the quality of WA.

Overall This Training Ranks At A Very Respectable 98%. Most Paid Programs Can’t Even Reach Or Offer That Amount Of Value But Here In WA: You Can Get It Without Spending A Dime.

Training 98% + Support 96% + Value 100% = Overall 98% Score

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Wealthy Affiliate Earning Potential

The next question from new WA members and people who hadn’t joined yet:

What is the earning potential with Wealthy Affiliate?

How much money can I really make in a year?

Unfortunately for you, there is no real specifics to this question, because truly it’s open ended. Some make a few dollars here and there, some make $1,000+ per month, and some reach the six and even seven figures – it depends on your niche, industry and the amount effort and consistency you put in.

The amount of money you can earn is 100% directly related to what you do, how you do it and how consistent you are with your action plans. The ones who are highly successful all have one thing in common:

Follow the Wealthy Affiliate training to the dot and keep taking massive consistent action.

Yes, learning how to do something is super but you need to apply the knowledge and actually build the online business to actually start earning – the knowledge is a good start, but how many of us know that action is what brings home the bacon and get things done.

Go through the WA training and build your online business the way WA teaches you and don’t deviate or get distracted, and I don’t see why you can’t make $12,000 your first year (that’s $1,000 per month in extra pocket money), and double that amount every year.

Sadly, why most beginner internet marketers fail online is because they either:

  • do not follow an action plan
  • get distracted and deviated by the next shiny program/product that promises $$$$ overnight
  • do not take enough action
  • do not take enough action consistently and patiently

Wealthy Affiliate will help you with all of the above: Provide you with a realistic plan of action, courses that you need to follow and tasks you need to complete. Stay focused and you will be successful.

Make Money Doing What You Love

Even though Wealthy Affiliate will teach you different marketing strategies that are very helpful for any kind of online business, they do focus and concentrate much on affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Marketing means that you get paid a commission whenever someone buys a product that you recommend, and most of the time, it’s someone else’ product. Most companies offer affiliate programs (think Amazon, eBay, Target, Airlines companies, credit card companies, etc.).

As more and more people start to buy things online instead of going to traditional stores (for obvious reasons) it’s makes sense to get involved and claim your share of these online sales.

What I always liked about Wealthy Affiliate is that they encourage you to do what you love – this makes running and growing a business a lot more fun and profitable.
wealthy affiliate
For example, say you’re like me, and you like natural health supplements (or gardening or playing games) and you make a website on natural health supplements that help people make a purchasing decision.

If you like gardening, you can start a website that talks about gardening tools, sheds, DIY, how to make your garden better.

On these websites, you can tell people about all those super products and tell them where they can buy those products (be it from Amazon, Target etc), and whenever these people buy the products through your link, you get a commission (affiliate marketing in a nutshell).

You don’t have to deal with inventory, shipping, payments, customer service – all you do is to connect people to find the products they want/need and you get rewarded by the merchant for it who loves you because you find them customers at a paid-for-performance basis – EVERYONE WINS!

This is single handedly my favorite way of business offline and online.

Ok, please don’t read the words above and start saying that it’s too difficult, or too foreign, or what – Wealthy Affiliate WILL PROVIDE you step by step details that you need to know to do all of this properly.

Again, its a follow the step-by-step training and ask questions whenever you’re unsure – the WA community is always there to help.

>> Sign up for the free basic Wealthy Affiliate membership account here <<

Wealthy Affiliate Keeps Me (And You) Updated

Earlier I mentioned that I run a private physiotherapy practice in Singapore since 2008, and one of the most important things that specialist physiotherapists needs to do is to keep updated, and this process is called “Continuous Professional Development (CPD)” and “Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)”.

Update Edit: I am currently on sabbatical to spend time with children and family, focusing on publishing, having sold all my shares/the business.

Likewise, a big benefit of Wealthy Affiliate University is that they stay updated and keep refining and growing. You see, the online world changes very, very fast. Kyle and Carson are very good and talented at keeping up with these updates and providing the most recent news, and updated strategies that work.

Research any successful millionaire/billionaire entrepreneurs and you will find that they constantly learn new things.

They attend seminars, hire coaches, read books, meet experts in their field – they stay updated and learn something new every single day. Every timeI login to my Wealthy Affiliate account, I learn something new.

Perhaps this will be the reason I am still a member and still excited every time I log into my account.

“BE HUNGRY, BE FOOLISH – STEVE JOBS”

Wealthy Affiliate Community And Support

Wealthy Affiliate community is something that I really respect and appreciate, and also something other programs fail to provide.

If you find yourself struggling with anything, most of the time many members who are live will be able to help you instantly in the WA Live Chat and even through your sharing in WA.

What I like even more is that people share their experiences, ideas and breakthroughs – this is invaluable, and is similar to being in a mastermind group where you can listen to these experiences to teach and motivate you, you can learn from others’ mistakes as well as discuss and brainstorm with others.

Whenever I need an opinion or input on a challenge or new website or article I am working on, WA members are always there to share their opinions, and very fast.

Even when I first joined, the way the community welcomed me – this is out of the world – the whole feel of such an active community is truly amazing and Wealth Affiliate is by far the only place where I have experienced this.

There are many, many online forums and programs out that that discusses the topic of making money online and online businesses, but you may have personally experienced or seen when someone ask a seemingly “simple newbie” question, they may get shot/flamed with:

  • hey, that question has been asked many times before, google it
  • you’re ______
  • and many more

You will not get this kinds of replies on Wealthy Affiliate.

Wealthy Affiliate is a learning center so they pride themselves on there are no stupid questions, and that every question is important and people will try to answer it as well and thorough as they can.

BUT of course if you do not feel comfortable asking a question (really, don’t be shy, just ask – and be amazed by their thoughtfulness and hospitality) instead you could also simply look through the resources and questions other people asked – I can almost guarantee you will find your answer within minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Wealthy Affiliate

Here are the most frequently asked questions about Wealthy Affiliate and their answers, and if you’ve got a question please don’t be shy or afraid to ask using the comment form below and I’ll add it to the FAQ.

Q: I am not very technical/tech-savvy and I’ve never built a website. Can I still use Wealthy Affiliate?

A: Of course! One of the greatest things about Wealthy Affiliate is the fact that it’s built with people like yourself. Every single step of online business building is explained with specifics and details, as well as with both text and video tutorials. This training makes Wealthy Affiliate very easy to use even for complete beginners.

>> Sign up for the free basic Wealthy Affiliate membership account here <<

Q: Do I have to promote Wealthy Affiliate to Make Money?

A: Nope, you don’t. And though Wealthy Affiliate does have an amazing affiliate program but you don’t need to to promote it to make money. Instead, WA teaches you how to setup a real and profitable online business where you can market/sell any service or products that you like or can find.

The WA affiliate program can be taken as optional program if you love WA, but WA doesn’t force you to push friends and family into being your clients or downline, rest assured.

Q: I don’t have any products to sell. How can Wealthy Affiliate help me?

A: So Wealthy Affiliate teaches you how to build on online business, and you can choose the route of selling your own products and services OR you can opt to sell other people’s services and products, and this is known as affiliate marketing.

You can partner with giants such as Lazada, Amazon, Target and many other companies to earn commissions on products that they already have/sell.

Q: Ok, so Wealthy Affiliate is Free to join BUT what’s the catch?

A: Yup, it’s fair to be cautious and skeptical when you’re offered/given something valuable for free. So the catch when it comes to Wealthy Affiliate is that the free membership is a basic membership program that gives you access to a limited part of WA, and in order to get more advanced training, you will have to upgrade to premium membership – that’s the catch.

I do recommend you start with the free membership program so that you can have a feel of this WA platform, connect with other WA users, start up to 2 free hosted websites and then decide if you wanna stay basic/free member or upgrade to premium. Free membership is enough to start an online business.

>> Sign up for the free basic Wealthy Affiliate membership account here <<

Q: What if I build my websites with WA and then decide to leave, will I lose my websites?

A: Nope – you get to keep your websites for as long as you want. Yes, this is a good question and a common fear BECAUSE many online programs don’t allow you to take your website with you if you decide to leave them.

Wealthy Affiliate will never take your website away from you even if you cancel your membership. In fact, you will be given a full 30 days after cancellation to transfer your websites to whichever webhost you prefer

Q: How long would it take to start making money online

A: We all ask this question, and unfortunately there is no real answer to it because truly there are so many variables that it’s very very difficult to estimate the timeline of success.

Much of it depends on your commitment/work ethics, you taking consistent massive action, the industry (or niche) your business is in, the amount of effort you’re willing to put in as well as many other factors.

I have seen people start making money with their online business in their first week, I have seen many others who took 6 to 18 months to see their first sale.

Q: Why is Wealthy Affiliate not available in my country?

A: Wealthy Affiliate Premium is available to everyone in every country. This being said, Wealthy Affiliate Free Membership is not available to 4 countries at the moment: India, Nigeria, Philippines and Pakistan.

I’m sorry I do not have the details why and how this decision was made, but if you live in one of these 4 countries you can still join WA premium membership anytime.

>> Sign up for the free basic Wealthy Affiliate membership account here <<

Q: Does Wealthy Affiliate work in Canada?

A: Yes, definitely. In fact, it works in every country (I’m in Singapore, and works well in Singapore and Asia too). WA is a learning platform teaching you how to build an online business, and as long as you have access to internet you can start building your own business.

Q: How do I know Wealthy Affiliate is not a scam?

A: Yes, much of the online business and internet marketing world has earned itself quite a bad, negative and scammy reputation – I was scammed and cheated many times too =(

This happens because of conmen/scammers who cheat people by promising to reveal a secret shortcut/technique/whatever lies to earns thousands and millions of dollars for a simple fee of $47, $97, $197, $1497 or more. As I’ve shared in my blogs and teachings, there is no quick way to riches.

What makes WA very strong is because of their free starter membership program which you can access limited part of WA training but it’s definitely more than enough to show you the high quality value you will get inside, without risking a single cent of your hard-earned money.

The simple fact of that people can try for free and people staying for 5+ years as members eliminates any possibility of Wealthy Affiliate being a scam.

>> Sign up for the free basic Wealthy Affiliate membership account here <<

Q: I am trying to create a starter account on Wealthy Affiliate but it’s telling me I already have one.

Hmm – there could be several reasons for this error.

  1. Did you create an account with them but had forgotten?
  2. Someone may have created an account using your email?
  3. Someone may have created an account using a computer in your house/IP, leading to Wealthy Affiliate thinking its from the same IP hence duplicate

Please contact WA support as they’d be the best people to ask for this.

Wealthy Affiliate Negative Reviews And Complaints

Ok, if you spend much time researching Wealthy Affiliate, you possibly will find that there is very little to no bad/negative reviews about WA online.

Interestingly, if you think about it, whenever any customers are unhappy, where is the place they go to complain and rant? Yup, online. This is true for any industry and most definitely for online training programs.

To date, more than 100,000 people have joined Wealthy Affiliate since 2005, and from the lack of rants and complaints about WA, it is fairly safe to say that most of them are quite happy with WA and what WA has to offer.

This is why it’s very hard to impossible to find any bad rants, reviews or press about WA online.

In fact, WA members are openly welcomed to review the program, unlike MLM companies that forces MLM members to sign non-disclosure and nothing MLM is allowed to go online…meaning that these unhappy MLM people are legally disallowed to publicly review the MLM company and expose their bad practices.

This being said, I actually manage to find some complaints about WA:

  • very detailed + informative can lead to information overload/overwhelm
  • basic members only get 7 days of live support
  • members being too preoccupied with WA rankings
  • some countries cannot enjoy the free starter membership program

These being said, are not large deal-breaking issues and to me, the focus is “Does WA does what it said it’d do? The success stories speak for themselves” – and that’s all that matters to me.

I also disclose that I will receive a small affiliate commission if someone decides to join WA premium using my affiliate link. There is no monetary compensation for basic membership.

I often share with people that they are free to join WA without using my link but they are encouraged to use my link if they like and benefited from my review and the effort that I put into explaining what WA is and does.

If someone for some reason don’t think I deserve being compensated, they can join directly through WA main site without going through my links.

>> Sign up for the free basic Wealthy Affiliate membership account here <<